“They Must Be Held Accountable”: Former House Members Urge Ethics Investigations for Current Representatives Involved In Jan. 6 Riot

Nearly 40 former members of the House of Representatives wrote a letter to their current colleagues requesting ethics investigations for members “who played a role in the events leading up to and on January 6th.”

Signed by 36 former U.S. Representatives, Democrats and Republicans alike, the letter was posted on Medium on Saturday. Signatories spanned generations, including some who served in Congress starting in 1973, like Rep. Alan Steelman (R-Texas), as well as those who retired as recently as 2017, like Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.). 

“As is now clear, January 6th was only one event among many that together constituted an extraordinary campaign to overturn an election. The scale and audacity of the campaign is profoundly troubling. Among the most alarming findings is that various members of Congress participated in it,” the letter said. 

The letter was released days before the January 6 committee is expected to vote on at least three criminal referrals against former President Donald Trump on Monday. As indicated by committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) last week, the House panel could also vote on referrals to the House Ethics Committee regarding five Republican lawmakers—House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) Scott Perry, Andy Biggs and Mo Brooks—who ignored the panel’s subpoenas.

It encouraged other former members of the House to sign on by December 31, 2022. 

“Based on the facts and findings to date, we urge you to demand that the Office of Congressional Ethics thoroughly investigates those members who played a role” in the Capitol riot, “and if appropriate, that the House exercise its disciplinary functions.” The letter continued, “At stake is not only the institutional integrity of the legislative branch — to draw and enforce bright lines of ethical conduct — but the principle of accountability upon which our democracy rests.”

“No one — including members of Congress — is above the law,” the group wrote.

The letter seems to be referring, at least in part, to the half a dozen representatives who the January 6 committee revealed had requested pardons or contacted officials about pardons after voting to overturn 2020 election results: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).

“These lawmakers stopped short of storming the Capitol themselves. But they shared a common goal with those who did: to prevent the lawful transfer of power for the first time in the Republic’s history. As with those who stormed the Capitol, they must be held accountable,” the letter stated.

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