Jan. 6 Committee requests for House Ethics action against Rep. Scott Perry
While not a call for criminal prosecution, it is not a great look for the PA Representative.
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On Monday, Dec. 19, the U.S. House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, requested for House Ethics action against Pennsylvania and U.S. Congressman Scott Perry over refusal to comply with a subpoena where he now faces possible sanctions.
The select committee referred to the House Ethics Committee that they sanction Perry and three other Republican Congressman over refusal to comply with a subpoena requiring them to testify at the hearings.
Along with Perry are House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Jim Jordan of Ohio, and Andy Biggs of Arizona. Perry is the key person as his name was mentioned 22 times across 16 pages in a report released this past Monday by the House Select Committee.
Former President Donald Trump — who is embarking on his second bid for President in 2024 — is now coming to realize that he could actually face criminal charges in regards to trying to overturn the results of the presidential election back in 2020, and now Perry and the four other GOP Congressman are now facing sanctions over their alleged roles in Trump’s plot.
While the referral is not a call for criminal prosecution, the select committee is a panel handling the discipline of House members for possible infractions. It may not end up meaning much in terms of real world consequences, though it is not a great look for the Pennsylvania Congressman.
In Perry’s case, the select committee wrote that they believe the four Congressmens’ refusal of their subpoenas is in direct violation of a general standard in House rules that requires all to conduct themselves “in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.”
With their refusal of said subpoena, the Select Committee said it “undermines Congress’s longstanding power to investigate in support of its lawmaking authority and suggests members of Congress may disregard legal obligations that apply to ordinary citizens.”
Perry has in the past said that he would not involve himself in the proceedings, saying he did not believe it has been established according to House Rules.
“Mr. Perry has the greatest respect for our American constitutional republic and the House of Representatives,” Perry’s attorney wrote to the Select Committee last year, in response to a request that he provide testimony. “He cannot, however, in good conscience comply with an improper subpoena issued by a Select Committee that is not duly constituted, has failed to follow its own rules, and that, shockingly, is abusing its authority to target members of the opposing political party.”
The full report released Monday, goes more into detail over why it recommended the four GOP officials.
“Their willful noncompliance violates multiple standards of conduct and subjects them to discipline,” the report reads. “If left unpunished, such behavior undermines Congress’ longstanding power to investigate in support of its lawmaking authority and suggests that Members of Congress may disregard legal obligations that apply to ordinary citizens.”
According to the panel, Perry assisted Assistant Attorney General Jeff Clark to meet with the former President with disregard to policies that forbid that kind of interaction.
One of the Select Committee members, a Democrat from Maryland, Jamie Raskin, said the congressmen were subpoenaed to testify “based on the volume of information” they have about Trump’s plot to overturn the results.
“We understand the gravity of each and every referral we are making today. Just as we understand the magnitude of the crime against democracy that we describe in our report,” Raskin said. “But we have gone where the facts and the law lead us, and inescapably, they lead us here.”
However, according to Republican strategist Sam Chen — who worked as campaign manager for PA Republican Rep. Charlie Dent, who chaired the House Ethics Committee from 2015-2017 — the select committee’s recommendations are merely a mild reprimand.
“Generally, they recommend anything from a censure — which is just a slap on the wrist — to committee reassignment, all the way up to expulsion [from Congress],” he said. “But now that’s going to be a much more difficult vote to get in the Republican House than just a censure. So I think that’s going to be the challenge moving forward.”
Chen also added that the recommendations, in addition to any forthcoming action from the House Ethics Committee, would only encourage and further power the pro-Trump House Freedom Caucus that Perry leads.
“The Freedom Caucus very much takes the approach of ‘the louder, the better,’ and so this is not something that I think is going to deter them,” he said. “Even if convictions come down, removals, things like that, you’re going to see them use it as fuel for the fire.”
The Jan. 6 Committee has already recommended criminal charges for Trump and others involved, and have signaled that the Department of Justice would look to bring more charges than the panel recommends.
Whether the House Ethics Committee is actually going to act on the recommendations is not known as of now as its leadership is expected to swap when Republicans take control of the House in the new year.
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