Locked in a tight race with Democratic opponent Jamie Harrison, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham on Wednesday urged South Carolinians who are "excited about Judge Barrett" to contribute to his reelection campaign—a blatant violation of U.S. law barring members of Congress from soliciting donations while inside federal buildings.
Speaking to reporters following the third day of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, Graham—the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee—said while on camera, "I don't know how much it affected fundraising today, but if you want to help me close the gap, LindseyGraham.com. A little bit goes a long way."
"The bottom line is my opponent raised $57 million. Congratulations to him, that's the most anybody's ever raised in the history of the Senate," Graham continued. "I raised $28 million, the most any Republican has ever raised. I think the contest in South Carolina has taken on sort of a national profile. I think in my case is that I stood up for Kavanaugh, and that made some people pretty upset on the left."
In response to footage of Graham's remarks posted on Twitter by Aída Chávez of The Intercept, observers pointed out that it is illegal for members of Congress to ask for donations "while in any room or building occupied in the discharge of official duties."
"Senator Graham might need a lawyer," attorney Marc Elias tweeted, pointing to 18 U.S. Code § 607.
Watch Graham's comments:
Sen. Graham: “I think people in South Carolina are excited about Judge Barrett. I don’t know how much it affected f… https://t.co/BzhNgZN1fH— aída chávez (@aída chávez)1602718325.0
The Intercept's Ryan Grim noted that "because it's a crime to solicit contributions inside a federal building," members of Congress often "leave their offices and make fundraising calls from their cars (no, really)."
"Doing it on camera," Grim added, "is next-level."
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) agreed, tweeting: "This is a crime. Lindsey Graham committed a crime in plain sight."