Josh Hawley Calls for Counter-probe over Democrats' Ethics Investigation Request

Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) has called for an ethics investigation into seven Senate Democrats requesting a similar such probe into his objection to Pennsylvania's Electoral College results.

Hawley has faced criticism for his actions in pushing against those votes, following the violence of January 6 when supporters of Donald Trump who rejected the election outcome stormed the U.S. Capitol.

The Democrats had suggested Hawley as well as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) "amplified claims of election fraud that had resulted in threats of violence against state and local officials around the country" through their decisions to object to the election results.

A letter to the Senate Committee on Ethics called for a probe into this and said: "The Senate Ethics Committee should investigate their conduct to fully understand their role.

"The actions of which we know demand an investigation and a determination whether disciplinary action is warranted. Until then, a cloud of uncertainty will hang over them and over this body."

Hawley has written to the Democrats involved in this request, telling them: "I was astounded to see the outrageous personal and partisan attack you labeled an 'ethics complaint.'

"It is a startling abuse of the ethics process and a direct assault on democratic debate. The idea that one Senator who disagrees with another Senator can therefore have that Senator punished, sanctioned, censured, or removed is utterly antithetical to our democracy and the very idea of open, lawful debate."

The letter was addressed to Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).

His message to them concluded: "I will not be intimidated by your efforts to silence me, the people of my state will not be intimidated by you, and you should be ashamed to have so grossly abused your office and the Senate."

In his own letter to the Senate Ethics Committee, he wrote that the complaint was "none other than a transparent attempt by seven senators to punish a political opponent for the entirely lawful representation of their constituents."

"The Senate cannot function if its neutral administrative processes are hijacked for bad-faith ends, but that is precisely what is occurring here," he added.

He urged the committee to investigate the Democrat Senators over "preparing and filing this baseless and destructive complaint."

He has previously bemoaned cancel culture as being behind the backlash he has faced.

Newsweek has contacted Hawley's office, the Senate Ethics Committee chairman and vice chairman, and the Democratic Senators mentioned for comment.

josh hawley at joint session of congress
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) stands in the House Chamber during a reconvening of a joint session of Congress on January 06, 2021 in Washington, D.C. He has faced calls to resign amid a backlash following the events of January 6. Win McNamee/Getty Images