Cruz, Hawley to Be Judged by 'Secretive' Senate Panel

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Posted: Feb 01, 2021 6:45 AM
Cruz, Hawley to Be Judged by 'Secretive' Senate Panel

Source: Erin Scott/Pool via AP

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) will be judged by a “secretive” Senate ethics panel over whether they had a part in inciting the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6.

The Senate Ethics Committee probe “will unwind over an interminable timetable with little hint of where it is going,” Politico reports.

The committee says nothing about its business until actions are taken. And it has a lot of business before it: Seven Democratic senators filed a complaint against the two GOP senators who led the effort to object to the election results, arguing that they ‘lent legitimacy” to the cause of those who invaded the Capitol. Hawley fired back with a counter complaint alleging “improper conduct” for partisan gain.

The panel is led by Chair Chris Coons (D-Del.), who called for Cruz (R-Texas) and Hawley (R-Mo.) to resign, and Vice Chair James Lankford (R-Okla.), who planned to challenge the election results himself before backing away after the invasion of the Capitol. Coons and Lankford speak frequently to each other and have a warm relationship, just as Coons did with former Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). […]

The committee's rules keep all actions of the panel secret without approval by a majority of the committee. The last press release the committee released was in 2017, confirming an inquiry into former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.). (Politico)

Lankford told the outlet that nothing about the probe will be discussed—“we don’t confirm anything and we’re pretty lockstep about that.”

Seven Senate Democrats filed a complaint against Cruz and Hawley but Senate Republicans questioned the decision to take it to the Ethics Committee.

“It’s a very slippery slope if you start punishing senators for holding unpopular views and exercising their rights on the Senate floor,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), reports Politico. “That’s not what I think of the Ethics Committee as being for. I don’t see how this is an ethics complaint.”

Sen. John Thune (R-SD), meanwhile, called it “draconian for the other side to try and take that action given senators’ First Amendment rights.”