Did Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) violate Senate ethics rules with a blog post?

Hello again, everyone!  Entries will be sporadic this week, and for that I apologize, but I’ll do my best to keep you entertained.  Anyway, here’s what I’ve got so far.

Wisconsin Senator Rob Johnson (R-WI) is the subject of today’s story, and he’s in hot water because of a blog post which may have violated U.S. Senate ethics rules.  An ethics complaint has been filed by the American Democracy Legal Fund, a Democrat-leaning group, alleging that Senator Johnson wrote a blog entry which was a “partisan political attack and response to Senator Russ Feingold.” Senator Johnson defeated Senator Feingold in 2010, and Feingold is now running against Johnson to reclaim his old seat.

The blog post, which has since been deleted, responds to an attack that Feingold made against Johnson, when Feingold said that Johnson is “opposed to all government-assisted student loans.”  One quote from the now deleted entry reads:

“Had Senator Feingold said that Senator Johnson has consistently pointed out that Washington policy on college assistance has serious negative unintended consequences, then he would have been right.”

That definitely sounds like a campaign statement to me – after all, why would a U.S. Senator use government resources to respond to an attack made by someone running against him?  And that would be an ethics violation: the U.S. Senate Ethics Manual bars the use of Senate resources for campaign purposes.

Senator Johnson has yet to respond to this allegation, but this seems pretty clear cut to me.  You cannot use governmental resources to campaign, and it would seem that Senator Johnson broke that ethics rule here.

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