Oregon House Speaker wants GOP lawmaker expelled over video showing him helping protesters get into state Capitol

A slate of Oregon lawmakers, including Republican officials, are calling for the removal of a state GOP representative seen in bombshell footage apparently telling demonstrators how to enter the state Capitol.

The video, first reported by Oregon Public Broadcasting last week, appears to show state Rep. Mike Nearman (R) talking to activists about how to enter the building, mentioning contacting him through a phone number he gave them.

After the video was taken last year, Oregon lawmakers met in an emergency session on Dec. 21 to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. During the meeting, far-right rioters entered the building and sprayed chemical irritants at law enforcement and more. 

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Surveillance footage from Dec. 21 shows Nearman leaving the state building through a locked door, through which he allowed demonstrators to enter the building. 

Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek (D) on Monday announced a special committee to consider expelling Nearman from the state’s House of Representatives.

The bipartisan committee, made up six members, is set to meet later this week to take up a resolution introduced by Kotek that would expel Nearman if approved by two-thirds of the state House. 

“The severity of Representative Nearman’s actions and last week’s revelation that they were premeditated require a special committee to immediately consider expelling him from the House of Representatives,” Kotek said in a Monday statement.

“He knowingly put the physical safety of everyone in the Capitol — lawmakers, staff and law enforcement — in jeopardy. As we saw in January at the U.S. Capitol, the ramifications could have been dire if law enforcement had not stepped in so quickly. This is an unprecedented situation facing the Legislature. It is beyond a workplace conduct issue and must be treated as such,” she added.

In addition to Kotek’s efforts, all 22 Republicans in the state House besides Nearman have signed a joint letter to the lawmaker urged him to resign from his office, according to multiple reports.

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“Given the newest evidence that has come to light ... it is our beliefs as friends and colleagues that it is in the best interest of your caucus, your family, yourself, and the state of Oregon for you to step down from your office,” they wrote.

Nearman is facing misdemeanor charges for allegedly permitting protesters to enter the state Capitol, including first-degree official misconduct and second-degree criminal trespass.

The Hill has reached out to Nearman’s office for comment.