A recent rally against health-care reform, organized on the Capitol steps by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), may have violated House rules.
The good-government group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is asking the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) to probe whether Bachmann misused her congressional website in publicizing the rally.Bachmann’s site urged people to come to the Capitol rally “and tell their Representatives to vote no” on the health-care reform bill. House rules prohibit members from using their sites — which are funded by taxpayers — to conduct “grassroots lobbying or solicit support for a Member’s position.”
CREW also alleges that Bachmann and her allies may have violated other House rules by holding a rally without a permit. News reports suggest the event’s organizer’s made an effort to call it a press conference, for which a permit wouldn’t be needed. But no questions were asked at the event, and in a TV interview beforehand, Bachmann urged supporters “to come to Washington, D.C. by the car load.”
“Calling a rally a press conference to circumvent congressional rules is like calling a Hummer a Prius to meet fuel efficiency standards,” said CREW’s Melanie Sloan.
CREW’s letter to OCE asks it to look into this issue as well.