A recent video on the Senate floor by Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin shows Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) trying to get Blumenthal to change his vote on the nomination of James Comey as FBI director.
The video was shot by an employee at the Capitol, but it has sparked an outcry from some members of the Democratic caucus.
Blumenthal was caught on video asking his colleagues to take out their phones as he was being escorted out of the Senate chamber after the votes.
Blumenthal’s staffers had been trying to force him to make a last-minute change on the vote, but when he finally was escorted out, they left their phones behind.
Blumenthal apologized on Twitter and said that he was trying to help out a colleague, and he said he didn’t know the staff had done that before.
“I’m sorry I didn’t ask you for your phones, I never meant to cause you any inconvenience,” he said.
“It was just something I thought you might find interesting.”
But several Democrats and civil liberties groups are calling the move an example of corporate governance.
The Senate’s rules prohibit staff from taking a phone out of their office or taking photos or video, so this is the latest example of the practice that has been criticized for years.
And the new rules are meant to ensure that senators’ offices are secure, but the Democratic leadership said it has “serious concerns” about the practice.
Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Ben Cardin of Maryland wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Attorney General Eric Holder to express their concerns.
The senators wrote that they believe the use of the Capitol for filming and photos is “particularly troubling.”
They said the practice is being used to capture “an unfortunate situation” and said they would be calling on the GOP leadership to “prohibit it in the future.”
Blumenthal’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.
The Office of the Inspector General released a report last week that concluded that the Capitol had been “grossly overburdened” by the use and abuse of the Office of Legislative Affairs, which is part of the House of Representatives.
It said the staff’s access to the Capitol was often limited.
It also noted that the Office had been plagued by budget cuts since 2012 and the Office was forced to cut staffing to keep up with its expenses.