Watchdog Calls for Investigation into Rep. Kevin McCarthy For Receiving Improper Gift
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 7, 2021
Contact: Michelle Kuppersmith, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA) asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) violated House ethics rules by renting a room from Republican pollster Frank Luntz at below-market rates.
CfA Executive Director Michelle Kuppersmith said, “While many Americans are struggling to pay their rent, one of the most powerful officials in Washington was luxuriating in the palatial digs of a political crony paying below market rent in an apparent violation of House rules. The Office of Congressional Ethics should investigate Rep. McCarthy’s dodgy housing arrangement.”
Earlier this week, it came to light that Rep. McCarthy, who as the House minority leader is one of the most senior members of the Republican party, rents a room for $1,500 in Mr. Luntz’s luxury Washington, DC apartment. The apartment, an amalgam of four separate apartments with 12 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, and four half-baths, is located in a building with a 24/7 concierge, rooftop pool, fitness center, and many other amenities. A subsequent fact check noted that studio apartments in the same neighborhood appear to rent for between $1,675 and $2,300 per month, less than Rep. McCarthy’s rent.
Members of Congress generally are prohibited from accepting gifts, including lodging. If Rep. McCarthy paid below market rent for his use of a room in Mr. Luntz’s penthouse, he received a gift from Mr. Luntz. Members are permitted to accept gifts based on personal friendship, and Rep. McCarthy has claimed Mr. Luntz is a friend. Members are not, however, permitted to accept gifts made because of the member’s position. Mr. Luntz, is perhaps the top Republican pollster and messaging guru, while Rep. McCarthy, as the House Minority Leader, is one of the most senior Republican officials, suggesting the two men have a business relationship. In addition, in accepting a gift of over $250 based on personal friendship, members are required to seek permission from the House Ethics Committee, something it appears Rep. McCarthy failed to do.
Ms. Kuppersmith continued, “House ethics rules are clear and Representative McCarthy is no neophyte. As leader of the House Republicans, he should be setting an example for his caucus, not trying to skirt the rules. If he violated the gift rule, he must be held accountable.”
Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.