New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s grandstanding stunt during Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings earlier this month may have just cost him bigly.
Last week the watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a formal complaint against Booker with the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics, asking that the committee investigate the attention-seeking senator for making a mockery of the legislative body’s basic rules of conduct.
“Senator Booker, in an absurd invocation of ‘Spartacus,’ explicitly invited his expulsion from the Senate in his egregious violation of the rules and contempt for the rule of law and the Constitution,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in a statement. “Will the Senate assert the rule of law in the Booker case or allow mob rule to be the new standard?”
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) September 13, 2018
This accusation pertains to the way the New Jersey Democrat acted during the third day of Kavanaugh’s hearings. It started when he threatened to commit an act of “civil disobedience” by releasing a slew of confidential documents about Kavanaugh, including an email the nominee had sent while working for the administration of then-President George W. Bush in 2002.
“I am going to release the e-mail about racial profiling and I understand that the penalty comes with potential ousting from the Senate,” the senator, who likened himself to the historical gladiator Spartacus, bloviated during the hearing on Sept. 6.
Senate Republicans abstained from booting him in part because Sen. Chuck Grassley had already cleared the email in question for release. It’s since been determined that Booker knew this all along, meaning his “Spartacus” speech had just been for show.
Following his grandstanding, the Democrat senator then uploaded all the documents in his possession to a publicly accessible server and shared a link to the server with his 4-million+ Twitter followers.
I stand by my actions.
I released 28 “committee confidential” documents to the public yesterday. Today I will be releasing more.
All docs here: https://t.co/z6WObX83lc
Grateful to my @SenateDems colleagues who have stood up to demand these docs be released to the public.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) September 7, 2018
According to Judicial Watch, the problem is that some of the documents shared on the server hadn’t been cleared for release and still remain marked classified. This in turn means Booker has violated certain Senate rules.
“By publicly releasing Committee Confidential records, Sen. Booker appears to have violated provisions 5 and/or 6 of Rule 29 of the Standing Rules of the Senate (Rev. Jan. 24, 2013),” the watchdog group pointed out.
The rules specifically state that any senator disclose disclosing classified documents or proceedings will “suffer expulsion from the body” and possible “punishment for contempt.”
Uh oh …
What remains unclear is how the Senate Ethics Committee intends to respond. A spokesperson from the committee reportedly declined a request for comment from The Washington Times. If Booker’s lucky, the Senate will let this drop. If he’s not, well, it’s been nice (not really) knowing him.
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