House ethics panel decides against probe after Hank Johnson civil disobedience

Greg Nash

The House Ethics Committee on Friday said it won’t pursue an investigation into Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), who was arrested by Capitol Police last week for staging a voting rights protest in the Hart Senate Office Building.

“The Committee has determined to take no further action in this matter, and upon publication of this Report, considers the matter closed,” the panel said in a statement.

House rules state that when a member is charged with illegal conduct of any kind, the Ethics Committee must either launch an investigation or explain to the chamber why it declined to do so.

The panel rarely pursues investigations into protest-related arrests of lawmakers.

Johnson, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), was arrested July 22, following the arrest of CBC Chairwoman Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) the previous week.

On Thursday, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) continued the trend. The CBC member was arrested by Capitol Police after she blocked one of the entrances to the Hart building with voting rights activists.

Civil disobedience has become the CBC’s latest strategy to move the needle on voting rights legislation, which has stalled in the Senate due to GOP opposition to bills like the sweeping For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Tags arrest Civil disobedience demonstration Hank Johnson House Ethics Committee John Lewis Joyce Beatty peaceful protest Sheila Jackson Lee
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