Vulnerable incumbent Senator Marco Rubio was called out last week after being caught conducting campaign business in his official Senate office. Rubio participated in an interview whose “entire substance” was “directly relate[d] to campaigning” while seated at his desk in his Senate office — a violation of Senate Ethics laws that state “Senate space may not be used for any political campaign.”
In at least one interview Rubio conducted June 9, the Republican Senator clearly is seated at his desk in the Russell Senate Office Building.
The discussion with Spectrum News ended up being presented under the headline “Rubio signals strategy in race against Demings for U.S. Senate.” Conducted hours after Demings announced her Senate candidacy, the entire substance of the interview appeared to directly relate to campaigning.
It’s the venue for the remarks that has some picking apart the scenery in the camera background. The language was similar in respects to a statement issued by Rubio’s Senate campaign the same day.
Federal officials and staff normally carefully avoid mixing political and government work. In fact, the Senate Ethics Committee Manual explicitly states ”Senate space may not be used for any political campaign” in a section dedicated to “Use of Senate Space.”
The Ethics Committee on multiple occasions has offered direction that any “general campaign or campaign fund activities should be conducted outside of the official office space provided Members of Congress.”
In contrast, Demings took steps to make clear her House work will not overlap with her Senate campaign. Demings keeps separate Twitter accounts for official business and campaign work. Her official Twitter as of Wednesday had a pinned message making clear it will only handle work “for the People of Florida’s 10th District” and refers all campaign communication to her political handle.