The Office of Congressional Ethics has found that former U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci improperly used the resources of his government office in his campaigns last year — even after ethics officials began questioning Renacci and his staff about the matter.

Renacci, who first was a candidate for governor, switched to make an unsuccessful run against Sen. Sherrod Brown, an incumbent Democrat. The Office of Congressional Ethics is an independent committee created in 2008. It made a recommendation to the House Ethics Committee, which is powerless to sanction Renacci now that he’s out of Congress.

The report released Thursday says that the former congressman used official resources in his campaigns. The investigation was undertaken in response to a complaint by the Ohio Democratic Party that Renacci on Thursday called “frivolous.”

The Office of Congressional Ethics, however, did not.

“In reviewing Rep. Renacci’s campaign social media accounts, the [Office of Congressional Ethics] found that Rep. Renacci’s campaign has repeatedly posted videos and pictures of Rep. Renacci that were filmed or photographed in or from official buildings,” the report said. “Even after campaign staff acknowledged the problematic nature of such posts, the campaign continued to post media that was filmed or photographed in the United States Capitol Building.”

In a text message, Renacci said he and his staff were aware of the rules.

“In fact, our office’s policy manual explicitly prohibited those actions by any member of the staff of the official congressional office,” he said. “As part of the OCE’s review, staff was interviewed and policy manuals reviewed along with training that supported all staff was aware of the policy in place.”

The point of such ethics rules is to keep federal office holders from using taxpayer-funded resources in their re-election efforts. For example, members of Congress are not allowed to use their official staff for campaign purposes, they can’t allow coordination between official staff and their campaigns, and they can’t use photos and videos taken in official buildings. But the Office of Congressional Ethics found that Renacci, considered the 16th wealthiest member of Congress, repeatedly did all three.

“Through this review of Rep. Renacci’s campaign activities, the OCE found a pattern of use of official resources for campaign purposes,” Thursday’s report said. “This includes: (1) the repeated use by the campaign of photographs and videos taken in or from the Capitol and official buildings; (2) the performance of campaign work in official buildings; (3) the performance of campaign work during official staff time; and (4) detailed coordination between the official office and the campaign.”

When the office questioned Renacci about the practices, he pleaded ignorance and the actions continued, the report said.

Renacci said Thursday the claims against him were frivolous ones that, “along with claims made by the Brown campaign against me, were used as political tools — along with spending $33.5 million — to try to save a desperate 44-year politician from losing his seat.”