Hawley pays back Dems, demands ethics probe of those who filed complaints against him, Cruz
GOP Sen. Josh Hawley is calling for an ethics probe into several Democrats who have accused him of helping incite the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol Building after they sought one against him and Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz.
The junior senator from Missouri also continued to defend his decision to object to electoral vote results from certain states following the Nov. 3 election.
In a pair of letters sent on Monday, Hawley listed his complaints and grievances. In one of them, he called on the Senate Ethics Committee to probe seven Democrats who filed complaints against him and Cruz, accusing them of filing “an unprecedently frivolous and improper ethics complaint… [w]ithout citing any relevant evidence or offering any good-faith argument.”
Under the law, members of Congress are permitted to file objections to slates of electors if they feel the results are somehow tainted or otherwise not properly tallied. Democrats have challenged electors in each of the past two presidential elections in which the Republican candidate won — in 2000, 2004, and again in 2016.
If one member of the House and Senate object, Congress is required to reconvene in each chamber and debate the objections.
In the case of Hawley and Cruz, both objected to electors in states where voting rules were changed prior to Nov. 3 by state courts and executive branch officials, not the legislatures as required by the U.S. Constitution. Both registered their objections when Congress met in joint session, as required, on Jan. 6; the session was interrupted when rioters breached the Capitol Building.
Hawley joined with a member of the House to object to Pennsylvania’s electors, triggering a two-hour debate session in each chamber. Cruz, meanwhile, objected to Arizona’s electors, Fox News reported.
“The complaint against me does not suggest that my objection to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes was legally improper. No Senator could make such a suggestion with a straight face. Federal law expressly authorizes Senators to object that a State’s electoral votes were not ‘regularly given,'” Hawley, Missouri’s former attorney general, wrote to the Senate ethics panel. “
“Democrats have repeatedly invoked this provision. Indeed, in every presidential election since 2000 that a Republican has won, Democrats have sought to object to electoral votes on that ground, regardless of whether any good-faith basis existed for such objections,” he continued.
He also argued that his objection to Pennsylvania’s electors had a “strong legal basis.”
Democrats who filed their complaint against the two GOP colleagues were Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I; Tina Smith, D-Minn.; Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; Maize Hirono, D-Hawaii, Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.
Hawley and Cruz both defended their actions but also condemned the violence at the Capitol, as did then-President Donald Trump, who was impeached for a second time earlier this month by Democrats who rushed it through in record time without giving the president an opportunity to defend himself via legal counsel. The Senate is now expected to conduct a trial even though Trump is no longer in office, leading some to question the constitutionality of the process.
The ethics complaint against Cruz and Hawley asserts that their objections “lent legitimacy to President Trump’s false statements” about the election and “to the mob’s cause.” The Democratic complaint also raised unfounded questions over alleged prior “communication or coordination between Sens. Hawley and Cruz and the organizers of the rally.”
Hawley called their filing a “manifestly partisan exercise” and called for them to be investigated as well.
“Most astonishingly, the Democrats who filed the complaint against me insinuate—without any evidence whatsoever—that I or my staff may have conspired with the criminals who stormed the Capitol,” Hawley said. “In most jurisdictions, such statements would constitute defamation per se, and if offered during debate they would constitute a clear violation of Senate Rule XIX.2.”
Hawley wants the Ethics Committee to specifically investigate whether his Democratic opponents themselves coordinated with outside left-wing groups, with Democratic leaders including within the Biden Administration and whether any of them have been in contact with corporations or lobbyists who have announced they will no longer donate to the Missouri or Texas senators.
Some outside groups responded very quickly after the complaints were filed against both Republicans, Fox News added.
“In light of the shameful abuse of the ethics process you have deliberately engaged in, I have considered whether I should call for you to resign or be expelled from the Senate,” Hawley wrote. “But I continue to believe in the First Amendment, which the US Supreme Court has repeatedly said protects even ‘offensive’ and malicious speech, such as yours.”
He noted further: “I will not be intimidated by your efforts to silence me, the people of my state will not be intimidated by you, and you should be ashamed to have so grossly abused your office and the Senate.”
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