News Analysis Jan 22, 2021 3:52 PM EST

Dems serve GOP lawmakers Cruz and Hawley with ethics complaints over Capitol riot

Drunk on their new power, Democrats in the Senate are now aiming their partisan volleys at their GOP colleagues.

Dems serve GOP lawmakers Cruz and Hawley with ethics complaints over Capitol riot
Libby Emmons Brooklyn, NY
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Drunk on their new power, Democrats in the Senate are now aiming their partisan volleys at their GOP colleagues. Senate Democrats have lobbed ethics complaints against both Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz. The accusation is that these two lawmakers "coordinated" with those who organized the Trump rally on Jan. 6.

The complaint urged the Senate Ethics Committee to "offer recommendations for strong disciplinary action, including up to expulsion or censure, if warranted by the facts uncovered." The complainants include seven Democrats, and are led by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), according to NBC News.

The complaint conflates the events of the peaceful rally held in support of outgoing President Trump with the unlawful actions of those rioters who stormed the Capitol in an attempt to block the vote to certify the Electoral College results. This is what the Democrats intend to do in order to solidify their impeachment allegations against Trump.

Cruz and Hawley are two senators who have refused to be cowed by the new power structure. Both men voted in opposition to the certification of the Electoral College votes confirming Joe Biden as president on Jan. 6. Prior to the vote, they stated their intention to vote against confirmation. The vote occurred in the hours after the Capitol Hill riot, and neither Cruz nor Hawley were swayed by the mob violence into voting against their beliefs.

Those senators who signed the letter are Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tina Smith (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), who was Hillary Clinton's running mate in 2016, and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

"The senators call on the Ethics Committee to carry out a thorough and fair investigation and consider any appropriate consequences based on the Committee's findings," the senators wrote.

In the House, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has also called for the removal of Hawley and Cruz, saying "If we've got time on our hands, then we should actually be bringing justice to the members of Congress... who also helped support this insurrection. If they don't resign, they should be expelled from the Senate."

In a statement, Sen. Hawley said: "I will never apologize for giving voice to the millions of Missourians and Americans who have concerns about the integrity of our elections. That's my job, and I will keep doing it."

The letter went on to say that "The question the Senate must answer is not whether Senators Hawley and Cruz had the right to the object to the electors, but whether the senators failed to '[p]ut loyalty to the highest moral principles and to country above loyalty to persons, party, or Government department' or engaged in “improper conduct reflecting on the Senate' in connection with the violence on January 6. The Senate Ethics Committee should investigate their conduct to fully understand their role. The actions of which we know demand an investigation and a determination whether disciplinary action is warranted.  Until then, a cloud of uncertainty will hang over them and over this body."

The complaint against Hawley and Cruz said that "the pair touted their plan to challenge the electors to drum up campaign contributions," and posited that it was "probable" that the senators did not believe in the veracity of the election fraud claims. In short, it accuses them of using rhetoric to gain contributions to their campaigns.

The complaining Democratic senators write "The Senate has a duty to determine whether the actions of Senators Cruz and Hawley constitute 'improper conduct' or other violations of the Senate code of ethics.  Only then will this body restore public trust."

Hawley, whose book on censorship was recently dropped by Simon and Schuster before being picked up by Regnery, countered the claim, saying "Joe Biden and the Democrats talk about unity but are brazenly trying to silence dissent. This latest effort is a flagrant abuse of the Senate ethics process and a flagrant attempt to exact partisan revenge.

This complaint against Republican colleagues in the Senate has been mirrored in the House of Representatives, where Democratic reps have called for the removal or resignation of many of those who voted against the Electoral College certification.  

Ocasio-Cortez claimed that she believed that some members of Congress colluded with the mob who stormed the Capitol Building on Jan. 6, and that she feared for her life at their hands. Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) called for her colleagues to resign after they voted against the Electoral College certification.

Democrats currently control the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate, yet they continue to be incredibly angry and vengeful against their conservative colleagues, despite President Biden's repeated calls for unity.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to send articles of impeachment against former President Donald Trump on Monday, with the charge of inciting a riot.

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