Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., filed a counter-complaint on Monday against seven Democrat senators who asked the Ethics Committee to investigate him for his decision to object to the Electoral College’s certification on Jan 6.
In a letter to Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Chris Coons, D-Del., Hawley argued that the senators who filed a “frivolous” ethics complaint against him and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, did so to “accomplish impermissible partisan purposes.”
“These Senators have engaged in improper conduct that may reflect upon the Senate. The Committee should discipline these Members to ensure that the Senate’s ethics process is not weaponized for rank partisan purposes,” he wrote.
Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, sent a complaint to the Ethics Committee last week asking that it investigate Hawley and Cruz and “offer recommendations for strong disciplinary action, including up to expulsion or censure, if warranted by the facts uncovered.”
“While it was within Senators’ rights to object to the electors, the conduct of Senators Cruz and Hawley, and potentially others, went beyond that,” they wrote, adding that the committee should investigate whether Cruz and Hawley were in touch with coordinators of the Stop the Steal rally on Jan. 6, if they encouraged any “insurrectionist” acts, or if they “engaged in criminal conduct, or unethical, or improper behavior.”
In a separate letter to these senators, Hawley slammed them for making ridiculous demands and argued that he could make the exact same claims against them.
“The First Amendment does not … give you carte blanche to abuse the Senate ethics process. I have today filed a complaint with the ethics committee that details your deliberate and partisan abuse of this process, including your apparent coordination with various dark money groups, and requests that you be appropriately disciplined,” Hawley wrote.