Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, right, and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Attend the Senate Justice Committee Markup for Judicial Officer Nominations and Modernization Act in the Dirksen Building on Thursday, December 10, 2020 Online content policy.
Tom Williams | CQ Appeal, Inc. | Getty Images
Seven Democratic Senators filed a formal complaint Thursday calling on the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate GOP Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley’s efforts to discard the presidential election results.
The complaint comes over two weeks after the deadly January 6 riot in the U.S. Capitol, led by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
“Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley legitimized President Trump’s false statements about electoral fraud by announcing that they would object to the certification of voters on January 6,” the Senators wrote in a letter to the chairmen of the Senate Ethics Committee, Chris Coons, D-Del. and James Lankford, R-Okla.
Cruz, a Republican from Texas, signed a written objection to the confirmation of Arizona’s votes at the beginning of the joint session to count the January 6th election, which sparked debate in both houses. Then pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol and lawmakers evacuated.
After the Capitol was secured and lawmakers resumed sitting, Cruz and Hawley, along with other Senate Republicans, voted against the Arizona Electoral College results, despite others who had objected after the fatal attack voted for certification to vote.
Hawley, of Missouri, also continued his previously announced plan to sign a written objection to the Pennsylvania election. Cruz and Hawley voted against the adoption of the Pennsylvania election results.
“By continuing to object to the voters after the violent attack, Senators Cruz and Hawley gave legitimacy to the mob’s cause and made future violence more likely,” the senators said in the letter.
The letter was signed by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island, Ron Wyden from Oregon, Tina Smith from Minnesota, Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut, Mazie Hirono from Hawaii, Tim Kaine from Virginia, and Sherrod Brown from Ohio.
In the letter, Senators called on Coons and Lankford to investigate whether Cruz and Hawley’s actions constitute “inappropriate conduct” or otherwise violate the Senate Code of Ethics.
The Cruz, Hawley, Coons and Lankford offices did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Following the Capitol riot, Cruz and Hawley made statements condemning the violence.
“The attack on the Capitol was a despicable act of terrorism and a shocking attack on our democratic system,” Cruz said in a January 7 press release.
“These acts of violence were criminal. They must be convicted,” Hawley said in a January 8 statement.
Hawley received criticism after being seen saluting protesters with a raised fist outside the Capitol before the joint session began. The publisher Simon & Schuster announced on January 7th that it would no longer publish Hawley’s upcoming book, although the Senator has since found a new publisher.
Trump is facing a second impeachment trial in the Senate despite not being in office now. The democratically controlled house indicted Trump on January 13th for instigating the uprising in the Capitol.
The legislature has also requested other investigations into the uprising. The Democratic-run house sent a letter to FBI Director Chris Wray and other agency chiefs on Jan. 16 for information about the intelligence and security flaws that led to the breach of the U.S. Capitol. On Thursday, House Inspectorate Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y., asked Wray to investigate the role of social media site Parler in the attack.
Five people were killed in the riot, including a US Capitol police officer.