Senate Democrats file ethics complaint against Hawley, Cruz
Democrats are requesting an investigation into the pair of senators over their objections to the election results. A group of Senate Democrats filed an ethics complaint Thursday against GOP Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, over their Jan. 6 efforts to object to the 2020 presidential election results.
“By proceeding with their objections to the electors after the violent attack, Senators Cruz and Hawley lent legitimacy to the mob’s cause and made future violence more likely,” the senators wrote in a letter to incoming Senate Ethics panel Chair Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Vice Chair James Lankford (R-Okla.).
The letter, led by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), requests that the panel investigate several issues, including whether Cruz (R-Texas) and Hawley (R-Mo) encouraged the violent Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol; whether they coordinated with organizers of the pro-Trump rally immediately before the riot; whether they received donations from any organizations or donors that also funded the rally; and whether the senators “engaged in criminal conduct or unethical or improper behavior.”
Hawley, in a statement, described the complaint as "a flagrant abuse of the Senate ethics process and a flagrant attempt to exact partisan revenge" and said Democrats appeared "intent on weaponizing every tool at their disposal."
A spokesperson for Cruz did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Both senators have denied allegations that they incited the Jan. 6 insurrection, which led to the death of five people, and condemned the violence.
But in Thursday’s letter, the Democratic senators argue that by announcing they would challenge the election results, Hawley and Cruz gave credibility to former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud.
In addition, the letter also notes that Cruz and Hawley still voted against certifying the presidential election results in Pennsylvania and Arizona, hours after the Jan. 6 insurrection.
“By continuing to object to the electors after the insurrection, Senators Cruz and Hawley lent legitimacy to the mob’s cause,” the senators wrote.
Donald Trump has appeared to drop his strongest hint yet at another presidential run in 2024, responding to news of his two-year ban from Facebook on Friday by saying he would not invite Mark Zuckerberg to dinner “next time I’m in the White House”.
Days before the Senate voted down the creation of a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Capitol attack, the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, was adamant: he would oppose the bill, regardless of any amendments – and he expected his colleagues to follow suit. The commission that would have likely found Donald Trump and some Republicans responsible for the insurrection posed an existential threat to the GOP ahead of the midterms, he said, and would complicate efforts to regain the majority in Congress. McConnell’s sharp warning at a closed-door meeting had the desired effect on Friday , when Senate Republicans largely opted to stick with the Senate minority leader.
The US House of Representatives voted on May 19th to create an independent commission to investigate the invasion of the Capitol building on January 6th. Members voted 252 in favor of, and 175 against, the commission, which was inspired in part by a similar body that investigated the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Every Democratic member voted in favor of the bill.
Four former secretaries of Homeland Security on Thursday urged the Senate to approve an independent commission to investigate the Capitol riots of Jan. 6 as Republicans appear poised to block the creation of such a panel.