On Nov. 21, Daily Beast broke this story that Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell read and submitted in the impeachment inquiry: Lev Parnas, the indicted Giuliani associate, helped arrange meetings and calls in Europe for the Rep. Devin Nunes in 2018. U.S. government funds — $57,000 of our tax dollars — paid for Nunes and three of his aides to travel to Europe from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3, 2018. Nunes is the minority ranking member of the Intelligence Committee and has been driving the GOP messaging, stance, and defense of Trump regarding the impeachment inquiry.
It was confirmed today on Nov. 22 by the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith, that Nunes will likely face an ethics investigation into the claims.
Why should this matter? For one, Nune is overseeing an investigation into corruption in Ukraine, which he himself abused power to investigate. It is a conflict of interest at best and outright corruption. Impeachment is serious and the crimes for which a president can be accused strike at the very heart of our democracy. Such manipulation and tampering undercut our need to ensure a fair impeachment inquiry and trial.
Two, you, as a taxpayer, need to know where your money is going and that your political representatives are not using it for their personal gains, such as overseas trips and entertainment unrelated to political office.
In 2018, he used political donations to pay for nearly $15,000 in tickets to Boston Celtics basketball games as well as winery tours and lavish trips to Las Vegas, according to reports from the Federal Election Commission and two nonpartisan watchdog groups.
Three, corruption left unchecked increases the harm to our communities because our reps are no longer working for us but for the highest bidder, and the system of law is weakened. Nunes has long been under scrutiny for his abuse of office in using taxpayers’ dollars for personal use since at least 2018. Instead, he became the House Intelligence Committee chairman and Trump’s foremost supporter and has sought to obstruct all inquiries for Robert Mueller’s investigation and Congress’s impeachment investigation.
In turn, his name has grown as much as his PAC. Nunes’ own PAC, New PAC, has raised $7 million, almost four times as much as the $1-2.5 million he has raised in previous years. There’s no way of knowing whether its due to the favors he curries by supporting Trump that led to such a meteoric fundraising rise because of how intransparent PACs are but it’s worth noting.
A report by the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center and Issue One, released Thursday, spotlighted the various ways members of Congress use leadership PACs to “subsidize lavish lifestyles on their donors’ dimes.”Campaign Legal Center
All of this speaks to bigger systemic issues voters need to know is the dire need to reform the regulations and laws of PACs:
- The House Ethics Committee rarely enforces the ban on the use of leadership PACs for personal use.
- The Federal Elections Commission has not issued clear directives on whether or not the funds can be used for personal matters.
- The CLC and Issue One report cited numerous trips by Congress members to Las Vegas. Why?
The person with the most trips to Vegas: Devin Nunes.