Kevin McCarthy Is Stacking the Ethics Committee With Election Deniers
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has announced his picks to lead and serve on the House Ethics Committee. Three of the five, including incoming Chair Michael Guest (R-Miss.), voted against the certification of the 2020 election results.
McCarthy previously announced a proposed set of rules for the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent body tasked with reviewing and submitting complaints to the committee. The new rules would severely impact the bipartisan nature of the office, and undercut its independent function and investigative abilities.
Guest, the committee’s incoming chair, was one of the 147 Republican lawmakers who voted against the certification of Joe Biden as president-elect on Jan. 6, 2021. Guest was also part of a coalition of 126 GOP legislators who signed their support for Texas v. Pennsylvania, a Supreme Court lawsuit that sought to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Committee members John Rutherford (R-Fla.) and Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.) also voted against Biden’s certification.
In addition to denying the legitimacy of the election, Rutherford was investigated last year by the committee after the Office of Congressional Ethics flagged Rutherford on suspected repeat violations of the Congressional STOCK Act. Rutherford had reportedly failed to comply with stock market reporting requirements for lawmakers, constituting a total of up to $3.5 million in improperly disclosed trades.
Fischbach publicly cast doubt on the integrity of the election and encouraged her Twitter followers to donate to former President Trump’s “election defense fund.” On Jan. 6, Fischbach issued a press release stating that she intended to vote against the certification of Electoral College votes from several states. “This election was shrouded in allegations of irregularities and fraud too voluminous to ignore,” wrote Fischbach.
No evidence of significant fraud or irregularities have been uncovered.
The Ethics Committee was given several referrals by the Jan. 6 committee regarding the actions of several House members in the planning of the attack on the Capitol and the efforts to overturn the 2020 election, including Speaker McCarthy himself. With the committee now being run by election deniers, it is unlikely that any members of the House will be taken to task for their efforts to subvert the democratic process.