(FreedomBeacon.com)- A staffer for a Senate Democrat may soon be under investigation if a watchdog group gets its way.
Recently, the group Empower Oversight sent a complaint letter addressed to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. They have requested that the committee investigate one of the Democratic staffers of the Armed Services Committee, Thomas Kirk McConnell.
Empower Oversight is alleging that McConnell asked for and then received professional services for Dan Jones, a former analyst with the FBI, as well as his nonprofit company The Democracy Integrity Project as part of the investigation into Russian collusion. The services were apparently provided with no cost to the committee.
The letter said that instead of simply providing information to the Armed Services Committee, the nonprofit “appears to have obtained the nonpublic data used for its analysis from the Committee itself.”
This is potentially an ethics violation because the report the committee did not pay for should be considered a “gift.” In this instance, a gift is considered any “‘in-kind donation of services’ among ‘other items of value,’ including ‘services’ that exceed $100 annually.”
As the letter from Empower Oversight reads:
“The fair market value of this research would clearly exceed $100, the threshold maximum for a Gift Rule exception. The research was developed for over a year and culminated in a major 687-page report, likely prepared at a considerable expense to TDIP (The Democracy Integrity Project).”
The watchdog group even went as far as uncovering how much Jones usually charges for his services. According to his 2017 fiscal year tax filings, TDIP compensated him in the total amount of $381,263.
In addition, Empower Oversight said:
“The data and the 687-page TDIP report for the Committee remained nonpublic, while TDIP paid for the analysis and the Committee did not.”
McConnell is a staffer to Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed, who is the chairman of the committee. As the letter alleges, if McConnell’s actions “do not constitute a violation of Senate Rules, then it should issue clarifying guidance to that effect so that other Committees can benefit from soliciting free outside professional services to supplement their congressional oversight work without fear of violating the Rules.”
TDIP has received funding from liberal megadonor George Soros, and they’ve also hired Fusion GPS. That’s the company hired by the campaign for failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to produce the Steele dossier.
In addition, the nonprofit provided the massive report for the Armed Services Committee on the connection between the Trump campaign and Alfa Bank in Moscow, which has since been disproven.
The research that occurred for the committee happened between March 2017 through October 2018, which extended after the death of Senator John McCain, who was the chairman for the committee at the time.
This potential violation of ethics rules came to light after Jones and TDIP filed court complaints against Alfa Bank, trying to prevent testimony and documents about the research the nonprofit did from being publicly disclosed.