Top Montana Democrat seeking ethics investigation into GOP rep over assault on reporter

Top Montana Democrat seeking ethics investigation into GOP rep over assault on reporter
© Getty Images

The head of Montana's Democratic Party requested an investigation Thursday into whether Rep. Greg GianforteGregory Richard GianfortePutting the president's pharmacy vaccine plan into action The Hill's Morning Report - Biden, McConnell agree on vaccines, clash over infrastructure Montana governor tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Mont.) lied to police and the public after assaulting a reporter last year during his campaign.

Nancy Keenan told The Associated Press that she has requested a congressional ethics investigation look into statements made by Gianforte and his then-spokesman Shane Scanlon, which initially blamed Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs for instigating the attack.


A police officer told USA Today that Gianforte accused Jacobs of grabbing his wrist, ultimately pulling the two of them to the floor. But multiple witnesses disputed Gianforte's account.

“It’s a matter of character for me,” Keenan told the AP. “If we can’t trust him in telling the truth to the cops, then how do we trust him on health care policy, how do we trust him on public lands?”

She added that Gianforte could still be held accountable by a House investigation for actions and statements made before being sworn in to office.

“A lot of things happened before people were members of Congress and they were still called to the carpet for it,” she said. “This case is no different.”

Gianforte pleaded guilty and was given a 180-day deferred sentence last year for assaulting Jacobs. Jacobs told police Gianforte "body-slammed" him for asking a question the day before the candidate went on to win a special election for Montana's open House seat.

Gianforte also paid a $385 fine and was required to take 20 hours of anger-management counseling.

Gianforte also issued a direct apology to Jacobs, stating: “I am sorry for what I did and the unwanted notoriety this has created for you. I take full responsibility.”