House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) have been hit with an ethics complaint in response to their unlawful threats to punish telecommunications companies that cooperate with the 1/6 Select Committee.
The Select Committee is investigating the Capitol insurrection, and that means seeking phone records of Republican members of Congress to ascertain whether they planned or aided the attempted overthrow of democracy. Of course, McCarthy is particularly desperate to keep his records secret because he spoke directly with Donald Trump that day as the insurrection unfolded, as did Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio.). The records could reveal a more insidious role played by GOP lawmakers in the violent attack that threatened the lives of police officers and members of Congress.
McCarthy is so frightened that he threatened telecommunications companies with retaliation if Republicans take back the House majority in 2022. Greene followed that up by threatening to shut the companies down, which Congress can’t actually do.
Both threats appear to violate the law and can be considered obstruction of justice. That’s why Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed ethics complaints against them on Friday.
“House rules require members to uphold the laws of the United States and to conduct themselves at all times in a manner that reflects creditably on the House,” CREW said in a statement announcing the complaint. “The threats of McCarthy and Greene do neither. Threatening retaliation for complying with legally valid document demands and preservation requests appears to violate 18 U.S.C. § 1505, which prohibits obstructing congressional investigations, and does not reflect creditably on the House.”
Indeed, McCarthy and Greene should be referred for prosecution by the Justice Department for this flagrant attempt to bully telecom companies.
CREW President Noah Bookbinder called for an immediate investigation.
“On January 6, we saw the gravest domestic attack on our democracy since the Civil War,” Bookbinder said. “Blatant obstruction of the investigation could leave our nation even more vulnerable to a future attack. McCarthy and Greene are transparently trying to thwart the Select Committee by illegally threatening companies with reprisals if they comply with the committee’s proper and lawful requests—quite possibly to protect themselves. This dangerous and unprecedented conduct must not be allowed to stand. OCE should investigate immediately.”
If McCarthy and other Republicans have nothing to hide, they should be fine with the records being released to the committee. But their protests and threats make it clear that they have something to hide that they desperately do not want to be revealed. That makes it more important than ever to obtain these records.
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