The Senate Select Committee on Ethics admonished Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Thursday for soliciting campaign contributions for former Georgia GOP Senate hopeful Herschel Walker from a Senate office building last November.
Graham did an interview with Fox News on Nov. 30, discussing the runoff election in Georgia and urging viewers to visit Walker’s campaign website on five occasions, per the committee. It was a repeat offense for Graham, according to the committee.
“The Committee finds that your conduct was contrary to Senate standards of conduct and, accordingly, issues you this Public Letter of Admonition,” the panel wrote in a letter.
“Your actions failed to uphold that standard, resulting in harm to the public trust and confidence in the United States Senate. You are hereby admonished,” it added.
The bipartisan panel noted that Graham’s action amounted to a repeat violation and cited a similar complaint lodged against him over an Oct. 14, 2020, incident. In 2020, he solicited donations for his campaign during an “unplanned media interview in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.”
However, in that instance, the panel found the violation “inadvertent, technical, or otherwise of a de minimis nature” and dismissed it on March 8, 2021.
“The public must feel confident that Members use public resources only for official actions in the best interests of the United States, not for partisan political activity,” the panel wrote in its recent letter to Graham. The committee also acknowledged that Graham “did self-report” his conduct to the chairman and vice chairman.
After the 2020 midterm elections, Graham heartily stumped for Walker ahead of his runoff in the hopes of preserving the 50-50 Senate, but Walker lost to Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), cementing Democrats’ one-seat pickup. Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison, Graham’s Senate foe in 2020, called out Graham following the November interview.
“Soliciting campaign contributions in a government office building is an ethics violation! He did this when he ran against me… guess he believes ethics rules don’t apply to him,” Harrison tweeted at the time.
Walker had been plagued by numerous scandals, including allegations that he paid a woman to obtain an abortion and pressured her to have a second one. Walker ran a staunchly anti-abortion campaign. He denied the accusation publicly.
The Washington Examiner contacted a Graham spokesperson for comment.