NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon has filed a complaint with the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee alleging a serious breach of Senate ethics rules by Senator Gordon Smith. They allege that Senator Smith used federal government resources to tape a political message for Oregon Right to Life.
Obviously, this is an explosive story - and BlueOregon's post a week ago featuring the video is part of the story. As a result, we're bringing you their press release in full (with relevant hyperlinks added) - along with the accompanying materials:
Gordon Smith Violates Senate Ethics Rules; NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon Files Complaint
NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon filed a complaint with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics yesterday, alleging that Gordon Smith violated Senate Ethics Rules when he filmed a promotional video on behalf of Oregon Right to Life in 2004.
“We were not looking for this. We happened upon it,” said NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon Executive Director Michele Stranger Hunter. “As a grassroots advocacy organization, we knew we could not remain silent. Oregonians need to know who the real Gordon Smith is.”
NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon came across the 2004 video on Oregon Right to Life’s myspace page in September. The video demonstrates Smith’s commitment to anti-choice organizations and was shown at the NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon Annual Choice Celebration Gala in October. Since then, it has been posted on youtube and been featured on BlueOregon.com.
“Once it made the rounds on the internet and we began to get feedback from outraged Oregonians, we started investigating exactly where the video came from,” said Stranger Hunter. “It became apparent relatively quickly that Gordon Smith filmed his testimonial for Oregon Right to Life on U.S. Senate property and there he is, talking about the importance of Oregon Right to Life’s political action committee.”
The U.S Senate Handbook and the Senate Ethics Rules both clearly prohibit the use of Senate space for any political activity. The Ethics Rules also include a prohibition on using the space for any promotional purpose. Complaints regarding violations of the Senate Rules are submitted to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics.
“We knew there was a problem with this video and we took action,” said Stranger Hunter. “It is imperative that U.S. Senators be held to the highest standards of ethics and responsibility. Smith disregarded these standards by engaging in the misuse of Senate property when he filmed this video for the benefit of Oregon Right to Life.”
Here's two accompanying video screenshots. The shot of Senator Gordon Smith is from the political Right to Life video. The shot of Senator Ron Wyden is from a video produced for "We The People", a high school civics program. Both videos appear to have been filmed in the U.S. Senate recording studios.