U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree is throwing her support behind a resolution to condemn and investigate more than 140 lawmakers who backed a failed bid to overturn the results of the Electoral College.
Pingree, a Democrat from the 1st District, said Monday she was joining the nearly 50 co-sponsors of a resolution from Democratic U.S. Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri.
That resolution condemns representatives and senators who took “unprecedented steps to defy the will of the American people who overwhelmingly voted” for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris last week when they sought to invalidate electoral votes in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
It would direct the House Ethics Committee to investigate whether those lawmakers violated their oaths of office and deserve sanctions for their actions, including removal from office.
Republicans who sought to interrupt the ceremonially certification of the Electoral College tally have faced scrutiny and criticism in the wake of last Wednesday’s riot when supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in an unprecedented move to pressure Congress and Vice President Mike Pence to not affirm Biden’s win.
Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died as a result of the riot.
Some Republicans opted to not continue with their objections after the siege, but others, including U.S. Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas, objected to certifying electoral votes from certain states. Despite those objections, Biden’s win was affirmed.
“After witnessing violent insurrectionists overtake the Capitol and put their colleagues lives at danger, more than 140 members of the House and Senate voted to uphold Donald Trump’s lies about the election and undermine our democracy. Instead of choosing to move forward with unity after this attempted coup, 140 of my Republican colleagues instead chose division,” Pingree said Monday.
The resolution called the baseless allegations of voter fraud and a “rigged” election — rejected more than 50 times by state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court — “politically motivated,” “betrays” their oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and violates House rules against “unbecoming acts that reflect poorly on our chamber.”
“We must investigate whether their actions violated the oath of office they took a mere 72 hours prior. Without accountability, there cannot be unity,” Pingree said.
The resolution makes reference to Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It prohibits people from holding public office who have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the U.S. government, a ban that originally targeted former members of the Confederacy, according to Seth Lipsky’s annotated Constitution.
It’s not clear whether Congress could remove the lawmakers using that provision. No lawmaker has ever been ousted from office using the 14th Amendment and only two have been expelled since the Civil War, according to CNN.
Section 5 says Congress can enforce the amendment by “appropriate legislation,” requiring a vote and even a president’s signature. A vote to expel members typically requires a two-thirds majority, according to CNN.
Maine’s independent senator, Angus King, called the Republican objections to certifying the results of the electoral vote “profoundly unpatriotic” during an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday.