TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Democrats filed two federal complaints Monday against Republican U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, accusing her of violating ethics and election rules because a staffer also serves as an unpaid spokesman for her re-election campaign.
But Tom Brandt, spokesman for Jenkins’ congressional office, said in a statement, “The allegation has no merit.”
The Kansas Democratic Party said separate complaints were filed last week with the Federal Election Commission and the U.S. House’s Office of Congressional Ethics. The complaints were from Jason Perkey, the state party’s executive director.
Each complaint deals with Bill Roe, director of Jenkins’ offices in her 2nd Congressional District in eastern Kansas. He’s acted as spokesman for her campaign for a fourth, two-year term, and has identified himself online as her campaign manager since 2012.
Perkey’s complaint to the U.S. House office argues that Jenkins is violating ethics rules because a congressional staffer is “using congressional resources” for her re-election. The FEC complaint alleges that Jenkins’ re-election campaign has violated federal regulations by failing to report Roe’s time as an in-kind contribution.
“It’s clear that Rep. Jenkins has problems following rules and being forthright with the people of Kansas,” Perkey said in a statement.
But Brandt cited a section of the House’s ethics manual that says congressional employees can participate in campaign activities on their own time, “as volunteers or for pay,” as long as they do not use congressional offices or other resources.
Perkey’s complaints came less than two weeks after Jenkins’ campaign criticized Democratic challenger Margie Wakefield over recorded telephone calls to district residents announcing a Topeka rally. The calls did not contain federally required disclaimers that they were paid for by the Democrat’s campaign, and Wakefield’s campaign acknowledged it as a mistake.
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