Watchdog Calls for Ethics Investigation into Senators Hawley and Cruz for Potentially Inciting A Riot and Committing Seditious Conspiracy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 13, 2021
Contact: Michael Clauw, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA) filed a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee requesting an investigation into whether Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz knowingly spread 2020 presidential election misinformation motivating the rioters who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021. CfA’s complaint asserts that by repeatedly propagating the lie that the presidential election could be overturned and by offering support to the angry mob that descended upon the Capitol, Senators Hawley and Cruz may have violated their duty to uphold the U.S. Constitution, federal criminal law prohibiting insurrection and conspiracy and Senate rules.
CfA Executive Director Michelle Kuppersmith said, “Despite overwhelming evidence that President-Elect Biden was fairly and legally elected, Senators Hawley and Cruz promoted a lie designed to inflame and agitate President Trump’s supporters. Whether their intent was truly to motivate an extra-judicial intervention into American democracy, or simply to further their own political ambitions, they are, in part, responsible for the January 6 insurrection and must be held accountable.”
Both Senators Hawley and Cruz were instrumental in lending legitimacy to the voter fraud conspiracy propagated by President Trump and his supporters. Prior to January 6, Senator Hawley frequently said that there was a need for somebody to “stand up” to protect the election results, using the phrase on Fox News on December 30, 2020, on Twitter at least five times in the last six months, and on his campaign website. Senator Hawley was also photographed signaling his support to the protesters when he “gave a thumbs up, a fist pump and waved as the crowd cheered,” just hours before the assault on the Capitol.
Senator Cruz openly lent legitimacy to the election fraud conspiracy. On January 4, Senator Cruz appeared on the Mark Levin Show and bragged that he had provided many of his Senate colleagues with the legal justification to object to the electoral vote count, saying “I reached out to a number of my colleagues and assembled a coalition of 11 senators, I convinced 10 other senators to join me…”
The cumulative actions of both Senators Hawley and Cruz may amount to violations of several federal criminal statues and Senate rules. 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. 18 U.S.C. § 2383 prohibits insurrection, and 18 U.S.C. § 2384 prohibit two or more persons from conspiring to use “force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States.” Additionally, Senate rules prohibit conduct that brings discredit to the Senate. In the days since the assault on the Capitol, both senators have been widely condemned by Senate colleagues, who last week saw their institution both literally and reputationally damaged.
Ms. Kuppersmith continued, “It’s ridiculous to believe that two lawyers, seasoned enough to have argued before the Supreme Court, weren’t well aware that they were spreading lies to susceptible voters. It’s hard to imagine any action that could more poorly reflect upon the Senate than these senators’ attempt to subvert American democracy. The Ethics Committee should investigate and recommend the expulsion of these senators.”
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.