CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The Republican primary campaign involving two incumbents for a newly consolidated congressional district in West Virginia has heated up after one U.S. House member attacked the opponent in a TV ad, drawing complaints of an apparent ethics violation.
The video released Friday by the campaign of Rep. Alex Mooney used footage from official House proceedings, including speeches by its members. According to the House ethics manual, such proceedings cannot be used in campaign or political activities.
Kevin Stephens, manager of Rep. David McKinley’s re-election campaign, said he was writing a letter to the House Ethics Committee about the ad.
West Virginia lost one of its three congressional seats following the 2020 census because of population losses. The districts of Mooney and McKinley are being consolidated into one and both announced their intent to seek office again. West Virginia’s primary election is May 10.
Mooney already faces an ethics probe over whether he previously used campaign cash to make personal purchases.
“The ad is yet another example of Alex Mooney’s blatant disregard for House rules and federal laws,” Stephens said in an email Wednesday to The Associated Press.
In the ad that plays up Mooney’s support of former President Donald Trump, the four-term congressman said McKinley voted for the formation of a bipartisan independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Mooney voted against the legislation, which was later blocked by Republicans in the Senate.
The ad also was critical of a vote by McKinley, who is in his sixth term, for President Joe Biden’s $1 billion infrastructure deal.
“David McKinley sold us out,” the ad said.
The Parkersburg News and Sentinel first reported about the ad, saying a version was sent to television stations.
In an email to the AP, Mooney campaign spokesman Mark Harris called complaints about the use of House proceedings in the ad “super ticky tack” and said “once we were notified, we changed the spot.”