A conservative watchdog group on Tuesday named Hillary Clinton the worst ethics violator of 2015.
The Democratic presidential front-runner was joined by lawmakers and political candidates from both parties on the “Worst Ethics Violators of 2015” list released by the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, a self-described nonpartisan group that has filed several ethics complaints over the past year with Congress, the IRS and the Federal Election Commission.
The Washington-based group singled out Clinton, accusing the former secretary of State of using her position in the Obama administration and her role at the Clinton Foundation to, among other things, benefit her son-in-law Marc Mezvinsky and advance her presidential ambitions.
“Elected officials are sent to Washington to follow and uphold the law and so they need to be held to the highest standard of ethics. Even the appearance of impropriety can quickly erode public trust, and Mrs. Clinton is in a league of her own” said FACT Executive Director Matthew G. Whitaker, a former U.S. attorney who ran as a Republican for the U.S. Senate in Iowa last year.
In its release, the group cites the release this year of State Department emails “which suggest that then Secretary Clinton gave special treatment to a private mining company as a result of the company’s relationships with Clinton’s son-in-law and donors to the Clinton Foundation.”
The release also questions Clinton Foundation payments to Clinton’s failed 2008 presidential campaign and interactions between Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Ready for Hillary political action committee.
According to the release, FACT asked the Federal Election Commission to investigate the legitimacy of Ready for Hillary providing the campaign with an email list with 4 million names: “Federal law explicitly prohibits a candidate from coordinating with and accepting donations, including an in-kind donation of a mailing list, from a super PAC.”
Clinton was one of five Democrats and three Republicans on FACT’s year-end list, including:
• North Carolina Rep. Robert Pittenger, who made the list, FACT said, after refusing to publicly release a letter he says he received from the House Ethics Committee approving his selling of his business to his wife after he was elected to Congress.
• Another North Carolina Republican, Rep. Mark Meadows also made the list after FACT earlier this year called for an Office of Congressional Ethics investigation into the congressman’s decision to continue to pay his former chief of staff three months after his employment ended.
• New Hampshire Republican Rep. Frank Guinta, who was fined by the FEC over an improper campaign loan.
• Alan Grayson, D-Fla, who is fighting off accusations that he has improperly managed hedge funds while in office, a violation of House ethics rules.
• Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., accused by FACT of unlawfully influencing an election for federal office. McCaskill acknowledges she spent $40,000 to poll Missouri Republicans in an effort to help her preferred Republican opponent, Todd Akin win the GOP primary. She went on to defeat Akin in the 2012 general election.
• Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., accused by FACT of misuse of taxpayer funds for endorsing Clinton in a press release posted on Carper’s official Senate website.
• Joe Sestak, a former congressman and Democratic Party candidate in Pennsylvania’s 2010 U.S. Senate race, accused by FACT of repeatedly and improperly, according to Department of Defense regulations, using his military service in political campaign items, including the use of photos of Sestak in uniform and signing off on campaign materials as “Admiral Sestak.”