Representative Andrew Clyde (GA-9) violated House ethics rules by introducing, sponsoring and advocating for legislation that would benefit his firearms company, according to a complaint filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington with the Office of Congressional Ethics.
In January 2023, Attorney General Merrick Garland approved a rule that places stricter regulations on pistols equipped with stabilizing braces (also known as pistol braces) that allow them to be fired from the shoulder like a rifle. Firearms equipped with these braces have been used in several recent mass shootings, including the 2021 shooting in a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado that left 10 people dead. Rep. Clyde owns Clyde Armory Inc., a company that sells firearms equipped with these braces. Since Attorney General Garland implemented the rule, Rep. Clyde has introduced legislation that would eliminate many restrictions put in place by the rule, a congressional resolution that would nullify the rule and an amendment that would prevent the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from spending any funds on implementing the rule. Rep. Clyde has advocated for this legislation on the House floor, in a House committee hearing, through press releases, in media interviews and on his official government Twitter and YouTube accounts.
House rules clearly state that members normally should not engage in certain official actions, such as sponsoring legislation, advocating or participating in a committee proceeding or contacting an executive branch agency, when their financial interests are at issue.
“Representative Clyde’s apparent efforts to use his official position to protect and boost his personal financial interests are not in line with the ethical behavior Americans expect from our elected representatives,” said CREW President Noah Bookbinder. “Clyde’s financial interests in this matter mean we can’t help but ask whether he is prioritizing his own profits over public service and public safety.”
Members are usually allowed to vote on legislation that could impact their personal economic interests—however, this only applies to floor votes. Actions such as sponsoring legislation and advocating or participating in a committee proceeding involve a greater degree of advocacy, and members are more constrained when their financial interests are at issue.
“We need our representatives to be making decisions based on what is best for the American people, not their own bottom line, which is why the House has the rules that Clyde appears to be violating,” said Bookbinder. “The Office of Congressional Ethics must investigate.”