Dozens of conservative groups have banded together to bring a formal ethics complaint against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., alleging “abuse of power, misuse of House resources, and false statements to the public and to the media” related to her impeachment efforts against President Donald Trump.
Filed Wednesday, the six-page complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) claims that Pelosi “has violated the Official Code of Conduct of the House of Representatives in the following specific instances, establishing a pattern of conduct that reflects discreditably on the U.S. House of Representatives, and she has abused her power as Speaker of the House of Representatives in her determination to conduct impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States.”
The complaint points to House Rule XXIII, which outlines the code of conduct for members. Specifically, it highlights sections requiring that members “behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House” and “adhere to the spirit and the letter of the Rules of the House and to the rules of duly constituted committees thereof.”
The complaint was led by Tea Party Patriots’ Jenny Beth Martin, signed by representatives of 40 different conservative groups, and sent to the OCE’s board chairman David Skaggs. It claims that the speaker has “weaponized impeachment” through her actions.
“In launching her ‘official’ impeachment inquiry without benefit of a vote of the full House of Representatives and without indicating anything remotely qualifying as ‘treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors’ that is the subject of the inquiry, Speaker Pelosi has weaponized impeachment,” the complaint reads. “She and her Democratic colleagues are using the impeachment process as a weapon of partisan political battle, rather than as the means to defend the Constitution our Framers meant it to be.”
In fact, the complaint goes so far as to make the case that the House’s impeachment effort is a separation of powers violation.
Citing foreign policy powers given by the Constitution to the executive branch and the Senate, the groups argue that Pelosi “has no business examining or investigating the president’s legitimate exercise of his authority to determine the foreign and national security policy of the United States” in the first place.
The groups also argue that the resolution put forward this week to affirm the impeachment investigation after the fact is “is inadequate at this late stage” to address the concerns the process has raised so far.
“This is the constitutional equivalent of having the referees arrive and take their positions when the game is already halfway over,” the complaint says. “If she now understands that before going any further, the full House of Representatives must make its impeachment inquiry legitimate by the casting of votes, she is tacitly admitting that what came before is illegitimate. Consequently, all ‘evidence’ gleaned during this portion of the ‘investigation’ must be discarded for the sake of fairness.”
For those reasons, the groups ask the OCE to “immediately launch an inquiry into Speaker Pelosi’s misconduct.”
In a tweet about the complaint, Martin pointed those interested in getting involved with other such efforts to a “Trump Defense Team” page on TPP’s website.
— Jenny Beth Martin (@jennybethm) October 31, 2019