Seven Senate Democrats on Thursday filed an ethics complaint against Republican Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas and asked the ethics committee to investigate how their objections to the Electoral College votes on January 6 might having helped incite violence. Capitol uprising.
“The Senate Ethics Committee should open an investigation into the actions of Senators Hawley and Cruz, and possibly others, as the investigation may reveal, in order to protect the integrity, security and reputation of the Senate said Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. , Ron Wyden of Oregon, Tina Smith of Minnesota, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Tim Kaine of Virginia and Sherrod Brown of Ohio wrote in the complaint.
“The question the Senate must answer is not whether Senators Hawley and Cruz had the right to oppose voters, but whether Senators failed to ‘[p]ut loyalty to the highest moral principles and to the country above loyalty to any person, party or department of government ”or engaged in“ inappropriate conduct about the Senate ”in connection with the violence January 6, ”the Democrats wrote, citing the Code of Ethics in Government Service and the Senate Ethics Manual.
In their letter to panel leaders, Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware and Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma, the seven senators also asked the committee to make disciplinary recommendations, “including until expulsion or censorship”.
In a statement Thursday, Hawley called the complaint “a blatant abuse of the Senate ethics process and a blatant attempt at partisan revenge.”
“Democrats appear determined to arm all the tools at their disposal – including pushing an unconstitutional impeachment process – to further divide the country,” said the Republican of Missouri, referring to the House’s impeachment of the president. time, Donald Trump, earlier this month, which will be next go to the Senate.
CNN has contacted Cruz for comment.
The complaint comes as the authorities are investigate hundreds of people in connection with the murderous pro-Trump riot on the U.S. Capitol, including possible ties to high-ranking Republicans who cheered them on.
Federal prosecutors said earlier this month they were examining everyone involved in the riot, including the role Trump played in prompting him. District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine warned on Sunday that Trump could be charged by city prosecutors with “a misdemeanor, a maximum of six months in prison”, amid the fallout from the insurgency.
Hawley announced on December 30 that he would oppose the Electoral College certification process, challenging Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell. Nearly a dozen other Republican lawmakers, including Cruz, later announced that they too would oppose it. But some changed their minds after the midday violence on Jan.6 – something the Seven Democrats noted in their complaint.
“By continuing their objections against voters after the violent attack, Senators Cruz and Hawley gave legitimacy to the mob cause and made future violence more likely,” Democratic Senators wrote.
The Seven Democrats wrote on Thursday that “the Senate has exclusive power to determine whether (Hawley and Cruz’s) actions violated its ethics rules, to investigate other conduct that we may not have knowledge that may have violated these rules, and to consider appropriate discipline. “
They urged investigators to investigate issues, including whether Hawley, Cruz or members of their offices or campaigns “were in contact or coordinating with the organizers of the rally,” “were aware of plans for the event. “or” received funding from organizations or donors who also funded the rally. “
Whitehouse, one of the Seven Democrats, told CNN Thursday afternoon he sent the letter because “we need to clarify exactly what happened.”
“The only place to do this effectively is in the Senate, because you cannot trust the executive agencies to conduct this investigation because they are on the wrong side of the separation of powers,” he added.
Hawley, believed to have presidential ambitions in 2024, has carried the weight of the blame for launching the actions that led thousands of Trump supporters to storm the Capitol complex and force the House and Senate to urgently lock down. Hawley had offered pro-Trump protesters standing in front of Capitol Hill a salute with a raised fist as he entered the Senate early that day.
Publishing house Simon & Schuster abandoned his next book, which now be released by curatorial publisher Regnery Publishing. Several large companies, including Blue Cross Blue Shield and Citigroup, have announced that they are suspending donations to Hawley and other Republicans who oppose Electoral College votes. The luxury hotel chain Loews Hotel Group has since canceled a fundraiser for Hawley, saying he is opposed to “all who supported and instigated” the deadly riot on Capitol Hill.
The Democratic Senators’ complaint also cites former Missouri Senator John Danforth, Hawley’s former mentor, who told the New York Times that “to give credence to Trump’s false claim that the election was stolen is a highly destructive attack on our constitutional government.”
Danforth, whose support was essential for Hawley winning his 2018 Republican primary, called to support him “the worst mistake I have ever made in my life” earlier this month.