A watchdog filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) over her use of TikTok. The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics. The complaint says:
“The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas.
“We request the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) immediately investigate whether Representative Ilhan Omar has used a social media account in violation of House rules and abused official resources for political purposes.
“TikTok is a social media company owned by the Chinese company ByteDance Ltd, which has raised U.S. government concerns that users’ data could be given to China’s authoritarian government.
“In 2018, after another Chinese app “Neihan Duanzi” was shut down by China’s State Administration of Radio and Television, the app’s CEO (and ByteDance’s current CEO), Zhang Yiming, released a public apology because the company “veered off course” by going against “core socialist values,” and “did not do a thorough job in guiding public opinion.”
“Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Communications Commission have warned that data from TikTok, such as biometric identification, browsing history, and location, could be shared with the Chinese government.
“China’s 2017 National Security Law requires Chinese companies to “support, assist, and cooperate” with national intelligence efforts.
“The FBI and Justice Department have reportedly began investigating whether TikTok has spied on U.S. citizens, including journalists.
“Moreover, the Biden administration has expressed concern over the ownership of the company.
“Specifically, along with the federal government, the House of Representatives banned the TikTok app from all official devices.
“In spite of this, Rep. Omar has a TikTok account that is clearly being used for both official House and political purposes.
“The law is clear and the posts above speak for themselves—there are no facts that can excuse these violations.
“The laws at issue, in this case, are important because not only do they protect taxpayer-funded resources from abuse, they also protect the integrity of official proceedings.
“One issue the House Ethics Manual acknowledges is the public perception that incumbents are simply using their office to run for re-election or to run for a higher office, and the reason for that perception is quite evident in Rep. Omar’s actions.
“In addition to violating the specific laws, her use of official resources does not reflect credibly on the House.
“Finally, given her use of a TikTok account and government resources, the Office of Congressional Ethics should ensure Omar does not have the banned app installed on any government devices.
“The Office of Congressional Ethics is responsible for ensuring each Representative fulfills the public trust inherent in the office and that they comply with the House’s ethical standards.
“Therefore, we urge the Board to immediately investigate whether Representative Omar used official resources for campaign purposes in violation of the House ethics rules,” the complaint says.