Graham denies wrongdoing in Senate ethics complaint debate

Graham denies wrongdoing in Senate ethics complaint debate
His comments were made during a campaign rally event in North Charleston Friday. (Source: Live 5)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said he believes he did not commit a Senate ethics violation when he appealed for campaign dollars within a federal building while speaking with reporters on Capitol Hill.

His comments were made during a campaign rally event in North Charleston Friday.

“I was asked a question out in the hall. I feel good about that situation, and I feel that I’m doing what I’m suppose to be doing in Washington, which is representing the conservative cause but trying to do it in a way that makes us stronger as a nation,” Graham said to reporters.

However, he deflected an earlier question regarding the matter, saying he didn’t know what was going to happen with the issue and that he believed it was a “non-story.”

Graham’s most recent comments come as South Carolina Democrats have filed a formal complaint against him for the possible ethics violation.

The Associated Press obtained the complaint and reported Friday that the South Carolina Democratic Party believes Graham “committed a crime and violated longstanding ethics rules by openly raising money for his campaign in a Federal government building while leveraging his official U.S. Senate activity.”

The complaint, according to the Associated Press, urges the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics “to immediately investigate Senator Graham’s actions and take appropriate remedial action.”

Graham made the questioned comments following Wednesday’s hearings for the confirmation of Amy Coney Barret for the Supreme Court.

“I don’t know how much it affected fundraising today, but if you want to help me close the gap — LindseyGraham.com — a little bit goes a long way,” Graham said. “I feel really good about my campaign.”

Until Friday, Graham’s campaign had deferred questions about the ethics allegations to his U.S. Senate office, where spokesman Kevin Bishop said Graham was merely responding to reporters' questions, according to the Associated Press.

Bishop also told the AP he was “confident any reasonable person will see that any possible violation was unintentional and does not represent a pattern of behavior.”

However, the U.S. Senate’s Rules and Standards of Conduct says “Senate Members and staff may not receive or solicit campaign contributions in any federal building.”

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