An ethics complaint has been delivered to the chairman and co-chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics against Sen. Cory Booker.
The accusation against the New Jersey Democrat was made by Judicial Watch, and the group announced Wednesday in a news release that it had “hand-delivered a letter” to the leaders of the committee.
Their complaints against Booker stem from his unsolicited confession that he broke Senate rules while handling documents in the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Booker openly told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he would be breaking their rules, noting that he would accept the consequences of that choice.
The reasons Booker gave for this choice included his belief that the system was not functioning correctly, and he didn’t see that there was any good reason for the documents to be listed as classified.
In his Facebook post, Booker not only admitted to the violations but objected to the rules themselves, saying, “The classification of many documents as ‘Committee Confidential’ is a sham.”
Booker went on to acknowledge the possible repercussions of his actions:
“Senator Cornyn of Texas threatened me with expulsion during the hearings. Now he is threatening ethics charges. As I said then, I say it now: Bring it.”
“But he won’t,” Booker said. “He knows this is a sham process that can’t be defended. In this, he is all bluster, or as they say in his state of Texas: He is all hat and no cattle.”
Judicial Watch’s letter provided a portion of the Standing Rules of the Senate as the foundation for their belief that Booker’s actions are an ethics violation.
“By publicly releasing Committee Confidential records, Sen. Booker appears to have violated provisions 5 and/or 6 of Rule 29 of the Standing Rules of the Senate (Rev. Jan. 24, 2013), which stipulate:
“5. Any Senator, officer or employee of the Senate who shall disclose the secret or confidential business or proceedings of the Senate, including the business and proceedings of the committees, subcommittees and offices of the Senate shall be liable, if a Senator, to suffer expulsion from the body; and if an officer or employee, to dismissal from the service of the Senate, and to punishment for contempt.
“6. Whenever, by the request of the Senate or any committee thereof, any documents or papers shall be communicated to the Senate by the President or the head of any department relating to any matter pending in the Senate, the proceedings in regard to which are secret or confidential under the rules, said documents and papers shall be considered as confidential, and shall not be disclosed without leave of the Senate.”
Booker’s actions regarding the rules and regulations of the Senate prompted Judicial Watch to make this request of the ethics committee:
“We hereby request that the Senate Ethics Committee conduct a preliminary investigation into whether Sen. Booker violated Senate Rules by releasing Committee Confidential records through his social media accounts.”
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