Watchdog Calls for Investigation into Reps. Gosar, Biggs, and Cawthorn for Role in Jan. 6th Insurrection
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 22, 2021
Contact: Michael Clauw, firstname.lastname@example.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 Representatives Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) violated federal law for their actions related to the January 6 Capitol insurrection. The complaint alleges the members incited 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. CfA also alleges that Rep. Cawthorn violated both federal and District of Columbia firearms laws and has asked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, which typically prosecutes firearms violations, to investigate.
CfA Executive Director Michelle Kuppersmith said, “Representatives Gosar, Biggs and Cawthorn deliberately misled Trump supporters and actively encouraged them to believe they could stop the certification of the election results. Their words helped light the match, resulting in death and destruction at the US Capitol.”
Ali Alexander, a far-right activist who planned the January 6th march, received explicit support from Representatives Gosar and Biggs. Rep. Gosar, for example, tweeted a flyer advertisement for the January 6 rally including the text: “#FightforTrump…The Time is Now. Hold the line. January 6,” And “Who is joining me?” Rep. Biggs made a video that Alexander played at a December rally encouraging Trump supporters to take action to prevent certification.
Rep. Cawthorn spoke at the January 6th march and urged listeners to tell members of Congress: “You know what? If you don’t start supporting election integrity, I’m coming after you, Madison Cawthorn is coming after you. Everybody is coming after you.” At an event in December, then Representative-elect Cawthorn had told a crowd to “fight” and that it was fine to “lightly threaten” their representatives. In addition, Rep. Cawthorn has stated that he was “armed” while on the House floor on January 6.
By coordinating with Alexander, encouraging Americans to falsely believe that the election had been stolen, and exhorting people to travel to Washington to as Ali said, “put maximum pressure on Congress” to stop the counting of the Electoral College vote, it appears that Reps. Biggs and Gosar may have violated laws against sedition and insurrection. Similarly, by encouraging march attendees to go after members of Congress, Rep. Cawthorn also may have violated laws prohibiting sedition and insurrection. The members’ conduct also may violate the House rule prohibiting conduct that reflects discreditably on the House.
In addition, while members of Congress may be permitted to have firearms in their personal offices, both federal and District of Columbia law prohibit the carrying of firearms in other locations within the District of Columbia, including the Capitol building and grounds. On January 8, the Department of Justice announced that a number of individuals already have been charged with firearms-related offenses in connection with the January 6th riot.
Ms. Kuppersmith continued, “Government officials are not above the law. If the people Rep. Cawthorn encouraged to illegally enter the Capitol can be prosecuted for carrying a firearm, so can the congressman.” She also stated, “No elected official should ever use their platform to instigate the subversion of our democratic process. Members of Congress who don’t believe in democracy need to find another line of work. Their colleagues should expel them, allowing them to find more suitable positions outside of government.”
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.