January 11, 2021 Ethics, Press Releases

CfA Calls for Ethics Investigation Into Rep. Morris Brooks for Potentially Inciting A Riot and Committing Seditious Conspiracy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 11, 2021

Contact: Michael Clauw, mclauw@campaignforaccountability.org, 202.780.5750

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA) filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) requesting an investigation into whether Representative Morris “Mo” Brooks (R-AL) violated federal law and House rules by inciting a riot as part of a seditious conspiracy to use force to prevent Congress from carrying out its constitutional and statutory duties to count the votes of the Electoral College. The complaint, first covered by Politico Playbook, demonstrates how Representative Brooks’ rhetoric as one of several speakers at the January 6, 2021 “Save America March” likely encouraged the assault on the Capitol hours later.

Read the complaint.

CfA Executive Director Michelle Kuppersmith said, “Rep. Brooks explicitly and repeatedly called on the protesters to ‘fight,’ resulting in an armed insurrection. Rep. Brooks is as culpable as those who stormed the Capitol and must be held accountable.”

The potential violations committed by Representative Brooks – incitement to riot and seditious conspiracy – are among the most serious crimes in the U.S. Criminal Code. The riot at the Capitol resulted in the loss of five lives, including the death of a U.S. Capitol Police officer, the terrorization of countless members of Congress, congressional staff, journalists and members of the Capitol Police who feared for their lives as the mob patrolled the Capitol, as well as the destruction of federal property, including numerous historical artifacts.

The actions of Representative Brooks appear to have violated two federal criminal statues and one significant House rule. Federal law 18 U.S.C. § 2101 prohibits individuals from (1) inciting a riot, (2) encouraging others to participate in or carry on a riot, or (3) aiding or abetting others. Additionally, 18 U.S.C. § 2384 prohibits two or more persons to conspire to use “force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States.” The coordination between Representative Brooks and his colleagues clearly shows an intent to disrupt the legitimate democratic process of certifying the Electoral College vote count in Congress, which was occurring concurrently, and was successfully disrupted by the riot. Lastly, Rule XXIII of the House Ethics Manual requires all members of the House to conduct themselves at all times in a manner that reflects creditably on the House. Further, the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution specifically disqualifies from congressional membership anyone who has violated his oath to the Constitution by engaging in insurrection.

Ms. Kuppersmith continued, “It’s hard to imagine anything that brings greater discredit to the House than a member of Congress – who has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution – inciting an angry mob to violently protest against the legitimate results of a democratic election. Whether or not Rep. Brooks is charged criminally for his actions, he must be expelled from Congress for his role inciting the insurrection.”

Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.