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Senate Democrats call for ethics investigation into Cruz, Hawley

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), speaks during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee confirmation hearing for U.S. Secretary of Transportation nominee Pete Buttigieg on January 21, 2021 in Washington, D.C.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), speaks during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee confirmation hearing for U.S. Secretary of Transportation nominee Pete Buttigieg on January 21, 2021 in Washington, D.C.Pool/Getty

(Bloomberg) -- A group of Senate Democrats filed a complaint to the Senate Ethics Committee seeking an investigation of GOP Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, saying they helped spread baseless claims of election fraud that contributed to the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol by an angry mob.

Cruz and Hawley were among the leaders of 147 Republicans in the House and Senate who objected on the day of the riot to at least one state’s certification of President Joe Biden’s Electoral College win in support of former President Donald Trump’s claims that he was cheated.

“When Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley announced they would object to the counting of state-certified electors on January 6, 2021, they amplified claims of election fraud that had resulted in threats of violence against state and local officials around the country,” the senators wrote in the letter.

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The letter demanded that the Ethics Committee offer recommendations for disciplinary action including expulsion or censure if warranted. The letter was signed by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Tina Smith of Minnesota, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Tim Kaine of Virginia and Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

The issue is not whether Cruz, of Texas, and Hawley, of Missouri, had a right to object, they said in the letter, but whether they put “loyalty to the highest moral principles and to country above loyalty to persons, party, or Government department” or engaged in “improper conduct reflecting on the Senate.”

Several other Democrats in both the House and Senate have also accused GOP members of provoking the riot and have called for the members to resign or be held accountable.

The offices of Cruz and Hawley did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Both are considered potential contenders for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

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