Facing Ethics Complaints, Insurrectionists Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz Accuse Democrats of Disunity
On Thursday, Seven Senate Democrats – Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Ron Wyden (OR), Tina Smith (MN), Richard Blumenthal (CT), Mazie Hirono (HI), Tim Kaine (VA), and Sherrod Brown (OH) – filed a complaint with Senate Ethics Committee Co-Chairs Chris Coons (D-DE) and James Lankford (R-OK) over the involvement of Republican Senators Josh Hawley (MO) and Ted Cruz (TX) in the deadly domestic terror attack on the United States Capitol on January 6th.
The complaint reads:
When Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley announced they would object to the counting of state-certified electors on January 6, 2021, they amplified claims of election fraud that had resulted in threats of violence against state and local officials around the country. While Congress was debating Senator Cruz’s objection, a violent mob stormed the Capitol. These insurrectionists ransacked the building, stole property, and openly threatened Members of Congress and the Vice President. Dozens of police officers were injured; five people died, including U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. 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.
Senators Hawley and Cruz’s actions have been denounced by individuals across the political spectrum. The Senate has the exclusive power to determine whether these actions violated its ethics rules, to investigate further conduct of which we may not be aware that may have violated these rules, and to consider appropriate discipline. The question the Senate must answer is not whether Senators Hawley and Cruz had the right to the object to the electors, but whether the senators failed to ‘[p]ut loyalty to the highest moral principles and to country above loyalty to persons, party, or Government department’ or engaged in ‘improper conduct reflecting on the Senate’ in connection with the violence on January 6.
The Senate Ethics Committee should investigate their conduct to fully understand their role. The actions of which we know demand an investigation and a determination whether disciplinary action is warranted. Until then, a cloud of uncertainty will hang over them and over this body.
The complaint also requests that the Ethics Committee probe why Hawley and Cruz mounted a concerted effort to disenfranchise millions of voters in Pennsylvania and Arizona – respectively – by contesting the results of the Electoral College, which Congress was in the middle of certifying during the insurrection shepherded by former President Donald Trump.
Hawley and Cruz “lent legitimacy” to Trump’s “false statements about election fraud by announcing that they would object to the certification of electors on January 6th,” the complaint states.
And then, in an act of sheer hypocrisy on Thursday evening, Hawley claimed to be a victim of the left, whom he accused of trying to “silence dissent” among conservatives.
“Joe Biden and the Democrats talk about unity but are brazenly trying to silence dissent. This latest effort is a flagrant abuse of the Senate ethics process and a flagrant attempt to exact partisan revenge,” Hawley said in a statement. “Democrats appear intent on weaponizing every tool at their disposal – including pushing an unconstitutional impeachment process – to further divide the country. Missourians will not be cancelled by these partisan attacks.”
Cruz, meanwhile, alleged that the ethics complaint demonstrates that Democrats – not seditious Republicans – are promoting disunity.
Maria Jeffrey Reynolds, a spokesperson for Cruz, said in a statement on his behalf that “it is unfortunate that some congressional Democrats are disregarding President Biden’s call for unity and are instead playing political games by filing frivolous ethics complaints against their colleagues.”