Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) are due to appear before a “secretive” ethics panel in the Senate, regarding allegations that they played a key role in promoting the attack on Capitol Hill when they objected to the certification of presidential electors from numerous key states.
This Ethics Committee committee, which Politico labels “as one of the most secretive communities in Congress” plans to review the cases against Cruz and Hawley after numerous influential Democrats launched an official ethics complaint on January 21 against the senators to Chris Coons (D-DE), the Committee Head.
The group of complainants alleged that “a violent mob stormed the Capitol … ransacked the building, stole property, and openly threatened Members of Congress and the Vice President” while Congress was in the midst of debating Cruz’s objections to ballot certification.
Despite the act that neither Cruz nor Hawley referenced the attacks, nor demonstrated any previous knowledge of the plans for the attacks, the seven chief complainants, among them Sen. Dick Blumenthal and Sen. Manzie Hirono (D-HI), insist that simply “proceeding with their objections to the electors after the violent attack” provides “legitimacy to the mob’s cause,” which could increase the likelihood of future violence.
The complainants also called for a full investigation into which, if any, information Hawley and Cruz may have had in advance of the Capitol Hill incident, including any knowledge they may have had of the upcoming plans. More specifically, the complainants want to know if any other Congressional representatives implicitly coordinated with the Capitol Hill attackers by either helping plan the attack, or helping facilitate the attack. This inquiry also extends to Congressional members’ staffs, including whether or not they engaged in “criminal conduct” or “unethical” behavior.
“Further investigation is necessary to develop a complete account of Sen. Cruz and Sen. Hawley’s involvement in the events of January 6,” the complainants insisted. “[Since] several of the House members who objected to the electors coordinated with the organizers of the ‘Save America’ rally, it is not unreasonable to assume that Sen. Cruz and Sen. Hawley may also have been involved.”
In addition to Sen. Cruz and Sen. Hawley, former President Trump, is also likely to have a trial in the Senate, wherein his involvement, or lack thereof, in the Capitol Hill attack will be evaluated, albeit publicly and within a strict time limit. Sen. Cruz and Sen. Hawley, on the other hand, will endure a more open-ended proceeding.
The original signatory of the complaint, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), claimed the principal purpose of raising concerns with the ethics committee was for the group of complainants to “conduct whatever investigation…that they need to,” including essentially limitless time for them to investigate.
Kaine also added, “and Cruz and Hawley have to have a fair forum to present their own thoughts about what happened.”
This committee comprises representatives from both parties, which should comfort Cruz and Hawley, especially since the majority of Republicans oppose the use of this committee to conduct an investigation on an official action taken in Congress.
As observed by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) to Politico, “it’s a very slippery slope if you start punishing senators for holding unpopular views and exercising their rights on the Senate floor … That’s not what I think of the Ethics Committee as being for. I don’t see how this is an ethics complaint.”