January 6th, Ethics Probe Into Hawley and Cruz 2 Years Later

  • Nearly two years ago, Democrats filed a complaint about Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley’s ethics.
  • They claimed that the Republicans engaged in “improper behavior” on January 6.
  • Since then, no one has heard anything from the Senate Ethics Committee. One advocate calls it a “black hole”.

A group of Democratic senators filed an ethics complaint in January 2021. complaintAgainst Republican Senators. In relation to the conduct of Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley from Missouri, the former President Donald Trump’s supporters,

The group asked Senate Ethics Committee to determine if the two Republicans, who had each raised objections to the results of the 2020 presidential election in key swing states, had failed “loyalty” to the country or engaged in “improper behavior reflecting on the Senate.”

Since then, nobody has heard much about it.

“I have no reason not to believe anything about that, other than the fact that it hasn’t been concluded,” Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island, who led the complaintAlong with six other Democratic senators. They spoke to Insider at Capitol December. 

He said that the investigation “seems to be ongoing,” adding that the Senate Ethics Committee — made up of three senators from each party — makes just two public disclosures: when the panel closes an investigation, or when it makes a determination. 

The complaintCruz and Hawley’s decision not to object to state certified electors following the riot, while legal, had “lent legitimacy and made it more likely for future violence.” They asked the committee to investigate whether senators or their staff had coordinated or not with rally organizers or those storming the Capitol.

“Until then, there will be a cloud over them and this body,” reads a complaint asking the committee for “recommendations to strengthen disciplinary action, including the possibility of expulsion or censure, if justified by the facts revealed.”

But if you buy the senators’ argument, that “cloud of uncertainty” remains two years later — and it doesn’t appear likely to lift anytime soon. 

Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island led the complaint against Cruz and Hawley.

Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island, led the complaint against Cruz & Hawley.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Meredith McGehee is an ethics expert who has long advocated reforms to the committee of watchdog groups. Issue OneThe Campaign Legal Center, believes the public should be realistic about their expectations, arguing the panel is “essentially where ethics complains go to die.”

McGehee stated to Insider that he was not saying there aren’t behind-the scenes activities. “It’s just that nobody knows what that activity is behind the scenes.”

This seems to include the subject of the complaint. Hawley told Insider in December that he hadn’t heard anything from the committee about the complaint — or about a counter-complaint he filed with the committeeAccusing the Democratic senators with a “partisan abuse” of the Senate’s ethics process.

Hawley stated, “Your guesses as good as mine.”

Insider reached Cruz’s office but was not able to provide any comment.

A “black hole” in which ethics complaints are ‘dead’

The bipartisan committee — led by Democratic Chair Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware and Republican Vice-Chair Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma — is subject to rules that do not allow members to disclose the status of investigations, or even speak about the committee’s business generally.

Coons couldn’t even answer a general question about whether an investigative action taken during one Congress can carry on to the next (it could).

Coons stated to Insider in December that “I cannot speak a word,” despite my best efforts. “I’m sorry. It’s literally the rules for the committee.”

Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware and Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, the chairman and vice-chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee.

Democratic Sen. Chris Coons from Delaware and Republican Sen. James Lankford from Oklahoma, who are the chairman and vice president of the Senate Ethics Committee.

Greg Nash and Tom Williams/Getty Images

McGehee said that the committee has become a “black hole”.

She said that they “just basically take no meaningful action publically,” and likened the panel to the bastion in Senate clubbiness. Often, she said, the committee simply waits for someone to resign, or for some other entity to take action — such as the Department of Justice or local prosecutors — when possible. “There is very little desire to make dirty laundry public.

The committee also includes Democrats Sens. Brian Schatz from Hawaii, Jeanne Shaheen from New Hampshire, and Republican Sens. Jim Risch of Idaho, Deb Fischer of Nebraska.

McGehee speculated that the complaint against Hawley & Cruz was likely too politically controversial for the committee, especially considering the fact that Lankford had already filed it. originally planned to object to Electoral College results himself. She said, “Lord knows his particular view on this.”

There has been little evidence in the past two years that Cruz and Hawley were directly involved in the attack on Capitol. The January 6 committee’s final report did not reveal any connection between the senators and rally organizers, and made little mention of the senators beyond their public actions — aside from an email from the White House about “2020 fraud” and calls from Rudy Giuliani attempting to persuade the senators to further delay the session.

When asked if he felt confident in the way that the Senate would adjudicate ethics issues, Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, one the senators who signed a complaint, responded that he was confident. MembersThe committee.

Kaine said, “I know members of the committee and they take this seriously.” “I don’t know what has been done, if any.”

McGehee stated that the committee is made up of “very nice, competent individuals,” even though its performance shows the dangers inherent in self-policing.

A 2018 Issue One report The McGehee report, which was co-authored, makes the problem even clearer: “Keep in Mind that a Committee member might be investigating a colleague, the next day that same member could be asking that colleague for support for a bill/vote,” reads the report.

The report points to the Office of Congressional Ethics — an independent body made up of experts that investigates ethics complaints against House members before making referrals to the House Committee on Ethics — as a useful model for the Senate. 

McGehee is the minimum. wrote in a separate 2014 letterThe committee could be more transparent in its activities.

Ultimately, McGehee speculated that the committee — seeking to avoid the “kerfuffle” that could come with either pursuing or closing the investigation — would quietly close the investigation sometime in the next two years.

She said, “They’ll probably emit some very lowkey letters, is my guess.”



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