Seven Democratic senators on Thursday lodged an ethics complaint against two of their Republican colleagues, Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, over their actions ahead of the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.
“The actions of which we know demand an investigation and a determination whether disciplinary action is warranted,” the seven Democrats wrote. “Until then, a cloud of uncertainty will hang over them and over this body.”
In a statement, Hawley (R-Mo.) responded by accusing Democrats of “brazenly trying to silence dissent.”
“This latest effort is a flagrant abuse of the Senate ethics process and a flagrant attempt to exact partisan revenge,” he said. “Democrats appear intent on weaponizing every tool at their disposal — including pushing an unconstitutional impeachment process — to further divide the country. Missourians will not be cancelled by these partisan attacks.”
A spokesperson for Cruz (R-Tex.) did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Democrats cited the role Cruz and Hawley played in leading the push to object to the counting of electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania. The two senators, they said, “lent legitimacy to President Trump’s false statements about election fraud by announcing that they would object to the certification of electors on January 6.”
In their letter, the Democrats noted that Hawley and Cruz continued to send fundraising emails even as the riot at the Capitol was underway. And they urged the ethics panel to probe whether Hawley and Cruz or any of their staffers had any communication with the organizers of the rally that preceded the riot.
“The public record is already replete with information that predicates an investigation and possible discipline as may be appropriate,” the letter stated. “While it was within Senators’ rights to object to the electors, the conduct of Senators Cruz and Hawley, and potentially others, went beyond that.”
The seven Democrats are Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Tina Smith (Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Tim Kaine (Va.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio).