The state Republican party has filed an ethics complaint against US Representative Edward Markey, the leader in the race for the Democratic nomination in the US Senate special election, alleging he improperly used video recorded at a House committee hearing and in a government building, in two campaign ads.
Markey campaign officials, however, insist that neither of the ads improperly uses video footage and say that the complaint amounts to a political stunt.
The complaint, filed with the House Ethics Committee by state GOP executive director Nate Little, lists four alleged violations of House rules — which prohibit the use of footage from House proceedings in campaigns — and calls for an investigation into whether Markey is inappropriately using taxpayer resources in the campaign.
“It is our hope that the Committee quickly gets to the bottom of Ed Markey’s apparent reliance on taxpayer funded resources to benefit his campaign,” Little said in a statement.
The complaint lists four examples, from Markey’s “Keep Standing Up” and “Pay” advertisements, in which the congressman is shown in House chambers or, in one instance, a public building.
Markey campaign officials dismissed the allegations as a cheap political ploy, and said no House rules were broken. The images in the commercials, they said, were already available in the public domain and the ads contain no actual footage of House committee hearings.
The images in question are: a purchased Getty Images still photo, footage of a press conference, a staged conversation in a rented-out space, and a clip from a CNN interview in an empty House chamber, respectively, according to the Markey campaign.
“These claims are frivolous and totally unfounded,” said Andrew Zucker, Markey campaign spokesman, in a statement. “The Massachusetts GOP is manufacturing false claims to divert attention away from the fact that its three candidates are out of step with Massachusetts voters by refusing to take the People’s Pledge and opposing President Obama’s health care law.”
Massachusetts’ Democratic party resorted to a similar tactic in last year’s Senate race, filing an ethics complaint about then-Senator Scott Brown, alleging that he used his staff to create a campaign video.