Hawley files ethics counter-complaint against seven Democratic senators

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) is filing a counter-complaint on Monday against seven Democratic senators who asked the Ethics Committee to investigate him.  

Hawley sent a letter on Monday to Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) arguing that the seven senators who submitted an ethics complaint against Hawley and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) last week issued a “frivolous complaint 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 added.

Hawley’s pushback comes as he faces fierce criticism for his actions on Jan. 6  including calls for him to resign or be expelled from the Senate  after he and Cruz led the challenges against Pennsylvania’s and Arizona’s election results, respectively. 

Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Tina Smith (Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Tim Kaine (Va.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio) last week sent a complaint to the Ethics Committee 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.”  

Hawley has denounced the violence after rioters breached the Capitol, resulting in the death of five people, but he has stood by his decision to try to challenge President Biden’s win in Pennsylvania. Hawley made his objection after the joint session resumed after being suspended for hours because rioters stormed the building. 

Hawley on Monday appeared to reference calls for him to resign, writing in a separate letter to the Democratic senators that had “considered whether I should call for you to resign or be expelled from the Senate.” 

“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. 

Tags Capitol breach Chris Coons Ethics Committee Ethics investigation James Lankford Josh Hawley Mazie Hirono Ron Wyden Sheldon Whitehouse Sherrod Brown Ted Cruz Tim Kaine Tina Smith

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