Home 2024 Elections Rep. Jen Kiggans Facing Ethics Complaint After Allegedly Spending Taxpayer Funds on...

Rep. Jen Kiggans Facing Ethics Complaint After Allegedly Spending Taxpayer Funds on Reelection Campaign

“'Likely violation of federal law,' the complaint says."

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From Affordable Virginia:

Rep. Jen Kiggans Facing Ethics Complaint After Allegedly Spending Taxpayer Funds on Re-Election Campaign

“Likely violation of federal law,” the complaint says.

Virginia Beach, Va. – Congresswoman Jen Kiggans is facing an ethics complaint that alleges she may have violated federal law by using taxpayer funds to produce ads that help support her in her re-election campaign. So far this year, the Congresswoman has spent more than $90,000 in taxpayer funds on mass communication, making her the highest spender among the Virginia congressional delegation. She has spent nearly 4 times the average amount among the Virginia congressional delegation.

A constituent and resident of Virginia Beach filed the complaint on behalf of Affordable Virginia, a non-partisan organization focused on holding Rep. Kiggans accountable on behalf of working families. “I saw some ads Rep. Kiggans put out with disclaimers that they were funded by Congress, but it was odd to me since they were almost identical to a video her campaign is using,” said the Complainant. “That just didn’t seem right. I’m sick of politicians acting like they can do whatever they want, especially when it comes to using taxpayer money.”

The complaint alleges Rep. Kiggans likely violated the Franking Rule, which refers to a set of guidelines that restrict how members of Congress can use taxpayer-funded communication materials. According to the House Communications Standards, materials produced under this policy are generally meant to inform constituents about congressional business and help them access government services, but using them for electoral purposes is strictly prohibited.

The Videos Under Scrutiny 

In addition to a video her campaign is using having very similar script language to those produced with taxpayer funds, the timing of their release is also being called into question.

Weeks after announcing that she was the Republican nominee, Rep. Kiggans started running two ads, “Seniors” and “Veterans,” with disclaimers stating that they were paid for by official funds authorized by the House of Representatives and appeared to have been filmed in her official office and contained footage of her on the House floor.

While the Commission approved the ads on January 10, 2024, and August 2, 2023, respectively, they were not aired until several months after Rep. Kiggans began her re-election campaign.

Appears to Be Clear Violation of Ethics Rules 

“The timing of these ads clearly indicates they are meant to influence voters,” said Emily Yeatts, Campaign Director for Affordable Virginia. “Rep. Kiggans waited to release these videos until she was actively campaigning for re-election. This is not only a potential violation of Congressional rules. It is a slap in the face to the working families she represents who are struggling to make ends meet while their Congresswoman uses taxpayer-funded videos to get herself re-elected.”

Potential Violation of Federal Law

The complaint also alleges that Congresswoman Kiggans not only undermined public trust but likely violated federal law along with commission standards. “This might not seem serious to someone like her, but it’s serious to me since it’s public money she’s using to campaign,” said the Complainant. “For once, I just want politicians to do the work they were elected to do instead of acting like the rules don’t apply to them.”

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About Affordable Virginia

Affordable Virginia, a project of Family Friendly Virginia, is a grassroots campaign urging Congresswoman Jen Kiggans to stop siding with corporations and the ultra-wealthy and start fighting for policies that will lower costs for working families in Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District.

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