A group of seven Senate Democrats filed an ethics complaint Thursday against Senators Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) over the January 6 Capitol riots.
“The Senate Ethics Committee should investigate their conduct to fully understand their role. The actions of which we know demand an investigation and a determination whether disciplinary action is warranted. Until then, a cloud of uncertainty will hang over them and over this body,” the senators wrote.
The letter, led by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), requests that the panel investigate several issues, including whether Cruz and Hawley encouraged the violent Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol; whether they coordinated with organizers of the pro-Trump rally immediately before the riot; whether they received donations from any organizations or donors that also funded the rally; and whether the senators “engaged in criminal conduct or unethical or improper behavior.”
In addition to Whitehouse, Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio.) signed the letter.
“While it was within Senators’ rights to object to the electors, the conduct of Senators Cruz and Hawley, and potentially others, went beyond that,” they wrote in the letter to Ethics Committee leadership.
Hawley and Cruz are seen as two potential presidential contenders in 2024, and both men used the fact that they were planning to object to the electoral vote count as part of fundraising messages that went out in the days leading up to and on Jan 6.
Hawley responded to the complaint in a statement by accusing the Democrats of trying to “silence dissent.”
A spokesperson for Cruz said the Democrats were “playing political games by filing frivolous ethics complaints against their colleagues.
Cruz and Hawley have faced bipartisan criticism since their votes on Jan. 6, with some lawmakers calling for them to step down.