Campaign finance reform group files ethics complaint against U.S. Rep. Dave Brat

    U.S. Rep. Dave Brat, R-7th, official congressional photo.

    A political action committee that works on campaign finance reform filed a complaint Wednesday with the House Office of Congressional Ethics against the 7th district’s current representative, Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Brat.

    Brat is running against Democrat Abigail Spanberger, who recently participated in a campaign event with the group that filed the complaint, End Citizens United.

    The complaint said Brat has used his campaign website to promote his 2016 book, “American Underdog,” and failed to report financial interests in the book.

    Brat’s website has too many — more than two — sentences about the book, the group says, citing a standard determined in a 2014 Federal Elections Commission Advisory opinion.

    “Assuming that Rep. Brat receives royalties from the sale of his book, he appears to be improperly using his campaign funds for his personal enrichment,” End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller wrote in a letter to the ethics office.

    There are two phases in Office of Congressional Ethics investigations; the first phase lasts 30 days and then the Board of Directors, made up of citizens, has to vote to continue the review. The second phase includes interviews and document requests.

    The staff creates a report, which can be approved by the Board and could lead to referral to other agencies for further review. If referred to the Committee on Ethics, lawmakers there can impose punishment.

    Brat’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.