WASHINGTON – A House Democrat asked the Ethics Committee Thursday to launch an investigation of three Republican members of Congress accused of helping rioters plan the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, and to refer potential criminal charges to the Justice Department.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., filed the complaints against GOP Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Mo Brooks of Alabama and Paul Gosar of Arizona. Each has denied helping insurrectionists.
The Ethics Committee doesn’t comment on pending investigations, but issues reports when they are completed. Probes typically take months or longer.
The rioting temporarily prevented Congress from counting Electoral College votes confirming President Joe Biden’s victory. About 140 police officers were injured, including one who later died, after rioters broke through doors and windows to vandalize offices and occupy the Senate chamber.
The House impeached former President Donald Trump, charging him with inciting the insurrection by claiming the election was stolen, but he was acquitted in the Senate.
Jayapal accused her three colleagues of supporting insurrectionists through tweets and other public statements.
“It is critical for the functioning of Congress – and therefore the functioning of our democracy – that this investigation is conducted,” Jayapal said in a statement. “I urge the House Committee on Ethics and the Office of Congressional Ethics to thoroughly investigate Representatives Boebert, Brooks and Gosar’s conduct, and refer any appropriate findings to the Department of Justice.”
Boebert issued a statement in response:
“Rep. Jayapal needs to spend more time investigating the insurrection that took place in her own district over the summer and less time trying to investigate me over the attack on the Capitol, which I have repeatedly condemned.”
Dozens of lawmakers accused colleagues of leading reconnaissance tours of insurrectionists in the days before the riot. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., accused Boebert of giving such a tour, but she denied it and said she had given a tour to her family when she was sworn in. Boebert filed an ethics complaint against Cohen over the accusation.
“Congressman Cohen falsely accused Rep. Boebert of giving an insurrection tour when she really took her family to the U.S. Capitol,” said Ben Stout, Boebert’s communications director. “His comments were irresponsible.”
Boebert and Brooks each tweeted the location of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as she was evacuated from the House chamber during the riot, which Jayapal said warranted investigation.
Jayapal accused Brooks and Gosar of encouraging the insurrection through tweets and other public statements. But Brooks and Gosar have been unapologetic about raising questions about the election.