GOP Sens. Cruz and Hawley are being investigated by the Senate Ethics Committee

Congressional Democrats continue to try to use the riot that occurred at the Capitol building on January 6th to go after their Republican counterparts.

Politico reports that the Senate Ethics Committee is currently investigating Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) following a complaint from Senate Democrats suggesting that the two Republican senators may be partially responsible for the riot. 

The Dems’ complaint . . .

. . . was filed by seven Senate Democrats – Sheldon Whitehouse (D-NY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tina Smith (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (VI), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – on January 21st, some two weeks after the January 6th riot.

On that day, Congress met to certify the votes of the Electoral College. Cruz and Hawley objected, which appears to be the sole basis of the complaint.

In the filing, the Democratic Senators admit that Cruz and Hawley did have the right to object. Nonetheless, they claim that Hawley’s and Cruz’s objection “amplified claims of election fraud that had resulted in threats of violence against state and local officials around the country.”

Accordingly, the seven Democratic Senators want the committee to determine whether Cruz’s and Hawley’s “conduct” played a “role” in the riot.

The counter-complaint

Sens. Cruz and Hawley have both responded to the complaint. Cruz commented that “it sets a dangerous precedent when ethics complaints are used as a political tool to try to intimidate and punish.”

Hawley agreed. But, he went a step further by filing his own Senate Ethics Committee complaint against the seven Democrats who filed a complaint against him. In it, Hawley accuses the Democratic senators of filing “an unprecedently frivolous and improper ethics complaint against me and Senator Cruz.”

“Without citing any relevant evidence or offering any good-faith argument, they attempted to link my objection lodged under 3 U.S.C. § 15 to the criminal riot at the Capitol that occurred on January 6,” Hawley writes. “They submitted their meritless complaint in potential coordination with a campaign by partisan and dark-money groups that have peddled falsehoods about me and my objection.”

Hawley, accordingly, called for these senators to be investigated and disciplined, if necessary.

Looking forward

The Senate Ethics Committee is a bipartisan committee that is currently run by Sens. Chris Coons (D-DE). Coons is well-known for being anti-Trump, and he also has already called for the resignation of both Hawley and Cruz for their decision to object.

Normally, it is extremely rare for the Senate Ethic’s Committee to discipline anyone. The members of the committee tend to go about their investigations quietly, behind closed doors, and nothing really ever happens. It is unclear whether this precedent will be followed here.

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