Congressional Accountability Project
1322 18th Street NW Suite 360
Washington, DC 20036
fax (202) 833-2406
February 21, 1995
Senator Mitch McConnell
U. S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics
Hart Building Room 220
Washington, DC 20510
RE: Request for Investigation of Senator Phil Gramm for Possible
Violation of Criminal Law.
Dear Chairman McConnell:
We are writing to urge the Senate Ethics Committee to conduct a thorough, public investigation
into Senator Phil Gramm's apparent use of his Senate office for campaign purposes. Senator
Gramm appears to have admitted to soliciting campaign contributions from his Senate office. If
he has used his office for campaign fundraising, Senator Gramm has violated the prohibition
against the solicitation of campaign contributions in federal government offices.
A: Senator Gramm Appears to Have Admitted Soliciting Campaign Contributions From
His Senate Office In Violation of Federal Law.
John Harwood of the Wall Street Journal wrote on February 17, 1995 that:
The Gramm money machine is a flush example of fund raising for the electoral fast lane....The
senator himself figures he spends two hours a day dialing for cash from his Washington home,
his car and his mobile phone; he says he can even place calls from his Senate office...."I do it
wherever I am," he says. "I can use a credit card....As long as I pay for the calls, I can make calls
wherever I want to call."
The implication of this statement is that Senator Gramm solicits campaign contributions from his
Congressional office. But Congressional offices are intended for Congressional work, not
campaign solicitations. If Senator Gramm has made campaign solicitations from his
Congressional office, he is in violation of 18 U.S.C. 607(a):
It shall be unlawful for any person to solicit or receive any contribution within the meaning of
section 301(8) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 in any room or building occupied
in the discharge of official duties by any person mentioned in section 603, or in any navy yard,
fort, or arsenal. Any person who violates this section shall be fined not more than $5,000, or
imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
B: An Ethics Committee Investigation is Needed to Uncover Other
Possible Violations of Law.
An Ethics Committee investigation is needed to determine who paid for the campaign-related
telephone calls from Senator Gramm's Congressional office.
Did Senator Gramm use a campaign credit card to pay for all of his campaign-related calls from
his Congressional office, or did he use his Official Expense Allowance to pay for some calls. If
calls were paid for by the Senator's Official Expense Allowance, then this would be a misuse of
appropriated resources. 31 U.S.C. 1301(a) states that:
Appropriations shall be applied only to the objects for which the appropriations were made
except as otherwise provided by law.
Senator Gramm must certify that Official Expense Allowance monies are expended for official
Congressional purposes. If Senator Gramm certified that campaign contribution solicitation calls
were official expenses, then this would constitute a violation of the False Claims Act. 31 U.S.C.
3729(a) states that:
Any person who-
(1) knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, to an officer or employee of the United States Government...a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval;
(2) knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement to get a false or fraudulent claim paid or approved by the government;
is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of not less than $5,000 and not more
than $10,000, plus 3 times the amount of damages which the Government sustains because of the
act of that person...
Congressional offices are for Congressional work. Taxpayers pay for these offices so that their
own interests are represented within the legislative branch. When solicitations for campaign
contributions occur within the halls of Congress, it creates the appearance that our members of
Congress are serving the interests of the powerful and wealthy at the expense of the citizenry.
This appearance is highly destructive to the public trust and to the legitimacy and moral authority
of the Congress. That is why using federal offices for campaign solicitations is illegal. We call
on you to vigorously investigate this appearance of criminal activity within Senator Gramm's