Hawley and Cruz’s comments underscore the frigid speed of the Senate panel tasked with monitoring its members. Even less public than its notoriously secretive House counterpart and not at all up to the House Democrats’ quick censorship of Gosar (R-Arizona), the Senate Ethics Committee appears to have done little over the past 10 years. months since Democrats launched their first complaint in the objections of Hawley and Cruz in the election, which preceded the pro-Trump riot that left scores of police dead and injured.
The fact that Hawley and Cruz haven’t been contacted suggests that the investigation is in its early stages, if anything happens. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (DR.I.), who led the lawsuit against the duo, said he believes things are still moving forward.
Whitehouse said if the panel were to dismiss his claim that Hawley and Cruz “made future violence more likely” by leading objections to President Joe Biden’s certification of victory, they would have heard it already. In January, Whitehouse and six fellow Democrats said in their complaint that the committee must investigate and recommend a possible deportation or censorship of Republicans if the facts warrant such discipline.
“If there is any merit in it, they throw it away and let everyone know. It did not happen, and we would know it. Presumably we’ve been through this, ”Whitehouse said in an interview. “As far as I know, it’s still going on. None of the public signals that it is not in progress have been sent. “
The Senate Ethics Committee is chaired by President Chris Coons (D-Del.) And Senior Republican James Lankford of Oklahoma, who have a good working relationship. As senators from opposing parties, each also has some closeness to the case. Coons called on Hawley and Cruz to step down after January 6, although that was before he became ethics president on January 20. Lankford, meanwhile, initially planned to oppose in the election but changed course after the pro-Trump riot on Capitol Hill.
The Senate Ethics Committee takes fewer public actions than its counterpart in the House, which regularly issues statements indicating whether investigations are continuing or are dismissed. His latest high-profile decision was a 2018 reprimand from Senator Robert Menendez (DN.J.) for accepting gifts and advancing a doctor’s financial interests. The committee also confirmed a 2017 preliminary investigation in former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who resigned over allegations of sexual misconduct before the panel came to a conclusion.
The investigation into the actions of Cruz and Hawley and Hawley’s counterclaim that the Democrats committed a “surprising abuse of the ethical process” are different from a typical ethics case that might focus on something like gains personal financials of a member. The Seven Democrats asked the committee not to investigate the right of the two Republicans to oppose the certification of election results, but whether Hawley and Cruz “have [p]but loyalty to the highest moral principles and to the country above loyalty to any person, party or ministry. ”
Hawley replied with ask the panel to examine the Democrats behind the original request and to “discipline these members to ensure that the Senate ethics process is not militarized for partisan purposes of rank.”
“We certainly hope that the ethics committee will investigate Senator Whitehouse and his six fellow Democrats, for their blatant partisan abuse of the ethics committee process and their apparent coordination with various black money groups,” Abigail Marone said. , Hawley spokesperson.
It’s hard to say what exactly the panel is doing, since its six members swear to secrecy. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (DN.H.) said that as a committee member she was not allowed to comment – a wish that extends to the other senators on the panel.
“They are very, very, very scrupulous not to talk about it. It’s like rule one so I don’t expect to hear and hope they do their job and their due diligence, research files and conduct interviews and do all of these things, ”Whitehouse said, a former US attorney and state. Attorney General. “I have carried out numerous investigations and I don’t want to guess how the ethics committee investigators pursue this.”
That said, Whitehouse is making sure other agencies investigating the insurgency are aware of his complaint. He also informed the House select committee on January 6 of his complaint.
The January 6 committee declined to comment.
Nicholas Wu contributed to this report.