Democracy 21, joined by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government (CREW), sent a letter today to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) supplementing our March 28, 2017 letter requesting an inquiry by OCE into whether Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, disclosed classified information in violation of House ethics rules.

House Rule 23, clause 13 requires a Member to swear that he or she “will not disclose any classified information received in the course of my service with the House of Representatives, except as authorized by the House of Representatives or in accordance with its Rules.”

Today’s letter from the watchdog groups cited Rep. Adam Schiff, Ranking Member on the House Intelligence Committee, as stating that he could not discuss the documents he reviewed because they were classified. These are the same documents that were previously reviewed and discussed publicly by Chairman Nunes and whose public discussion is the basis for our request for an OCE inquiry.

The letter said:

According to recent published reports, Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, was provided access by the White House to the same documents that were viewed earlier by Chairman Nunes.  After viewing the documents, Representative Schiff said in a statement, “It was represented to me that these are precisely the same materials that were provided to the Chairman over a week ago.”

According to a report in Politico, “Schiff, in his statement Friday, declined to weigh in on Nunes’ characterization of the materials, saying he ‘cannot discuss the contents of the documents’ because they’re classified.”

As we noted in our March 28 letter to OCE, Chairman Nunes also described the documents at issue as classified, but Chairman Nunes, unlike Representative Schiff, then discussed the contents of the documents and made certain characterizations about the contents.

The letter concluded:

The fact that Representative Schiff has viewed the same documents as Chairman Nunes, described them as classified, and then, unlike Chairman Nunes, stated that he could not discuss the contents of the documents because of their classified nature, underscores the need for OCE to conduct an inquiry into whether Chairman Nunes improperly disclosed classified information in discussing the classified documents, in violation of Rule 23, cl. 13.

We again request OCE to undertake a preliminary investigation to determine whether there is reasonable basis to believe that the statements made by Chairman Nunes to the public, that were based on information in classified documents, revealed any classified information in violation of House ethics rules.

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