Dec 19, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Jan. 6 committee refers Kevin McCarthy to ethics panel

Reps. Jim Jordan and Kevin McCarthy stand in the House chamber wearing masks.

Rep. Jim Jordan and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

The Jan. 6 select committee on Monday voted unanimously to refer House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and three other House Republicans to the House Ethics Committee for refusing to comply with the panel's subpoenas.

Why it matters: Only the House can discipline its own members over internal matters, and the Ethics Committee is the body empowered with investigating alleged infractions and doling out punishment.

  • Yes, but: The Ethics Committee is split evenly along party lines and a majority vote is required to take any action, meaning Republicans on the panel can block consideration of the referral.

Driving the news: The committee voted unanimously on Monday to approve its final report, including legislative recommendations and criminal referrals.

What they're saying: A partial copy of the committee's report provided to Axios charges McCarthy and Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Scott Perry (R-Pa.) and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) with violating House rules requiring members to conduct themselves “at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.”

  • The members' "willful failure" to comply with subpoenas "reflects discredit on Congress," the report says, warning that letting them off could undermine the power of congressional subpoenas.
  • "If left unpunished, such behavior undermines Congress’s 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."
  • The committee did not refer Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), who refused to comply with a subpoena but is leaving Congress in January.

The other side: “This is just another partisan and political stunt made by a Select Committee that knowingly altered evidence, blocked minority representation on a Committee for the first time in the history of the U.S. House of Representatives," Jordan spokesperson Russell Dye said in a statement.

The committee's report also calls for the four members, as well as House Republicans who attended a Dec. 21 meeting at the White House on schemes to overturn the 2020 election, to testify publicly.

  • They "should be questioned in a public forum about their advance knowledge of and role in President Trump’s plan to prevent the peaceful transition of power," it says.

Editor's note: This article has been corrected to fix the attribution for a quote from Rep. Jim Jordan to his spokesperson Russell Dye.

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