Pennsylvania's state Democratic and Republican parties filed official ethics complaints on eachother Monday, with each saying the other party's U.S. Senate nominee improperly used footage from speeches in Congress to promote their campaigns.
Ethics rules for the U.S. House and Senate forbid sitting members of Congress from using footage of official proceedings for political purposes.
In an email sent out Monday, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party announced it had filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics over Hazleton Republican Congressman Lou Barletta's use of footage showing him speaking about a school security bill. He posted the footage to his campaign's YouTube page and in a sponsored Facebook post.
Democratic Party executive director Sinceré Harris called Barletta's use of the footage an “amateur hour” mistake that shows Barletta is “not ready for prime time.”
The Pennsylvania Republican Party announced an hour later that it would lodge a similar complaint against Barletta's opponent, incumbent U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton. Casey posted Senate floor footage to his campaign Facebook page in 2015 showing him speaking in favor of protecting workers' rights to form a union.
Republican Party spokesman Jason Gottesman said “This is a clear indication that Senator Casey has unclean hands in this matter, and it's a desperate attempt by Democrats because they don't have anything of substance to lodge at Lou Barletta.”
The Office of Congressional Ethics, where the Democratic Party's complaint was filed, reviews allegations of misconduct and may refer matters to the House Committee on Ethics, according to the Office's website. The committee has authority to reprimand, fine or expel from office members of Congress who have violated the rules.
The videos have both been removed. The general election is Nov. 6.