Ethics Complaint Still Hovering Over Booker's Head as He Tests 2020 Waters


If you want to know whether or not New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker will be running for president or not, you’re going to have to wait until after the festive season.

On a visit to New Hampshire this week — a visit which I’m sure was due to his love of covered bridges and Lake Winnipesaukee and had nothing to do with the fact that it’s the first primary state — Booker said he’d sit down with friends and family this Christmas (presumably while watching “Spartacus” on Netflix as the fire blazes brightly in the hearth) and decide whether or not he’ll throw his hat in the ring.

“During the holidays I’m gonna sit down and take a lot of stock about what I want to do next — whether I want to run for president or stay in the Senate and help this continued movement in our country to reinvigorate our democracy,” Booker said.

So in other words, he’ll be deciding on his presidential ambitions in a few weeks.

Right. And I’ll be filing this story in May of 2021.

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If Booker runs, however, he’s going to have to get a few things out of the way. First and foremost among these may be an ethics complaint filed against him in the Senate in September — back during his “Spartacus moment.”

For those of you who can remember back to the Democrats’ outrage over Brett Kavanaugh before Christine Blasey Ford came forward, you’ll remember some of it centered around confidential documents that Booker was allegedly leaking — hence the reason the New Jersey senator compared himself to a Thracian gladiator.

“I will say that I did willingly violate the chair’s rule on the committee confidential process,” Booker said during the hearing.

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“I take full responsibility for violating that, sir. And I violate it because I sincerely believe that the public deserves to know this nominee’s record. And in this particular case, his record on issues of race and the law. And I could not understand, and I violated this rule knowingly, why these issues should be withheld from the public.

“Now, I appreciate the comments of my colleagues. This is about the closest I’ll probably ever have in my life to an ‘I am Spartacus’ moment.”

Booker also paraded the fact that he was flouting the Senate’s rules by releasing the confidential documents, which revealed little about Kavanaugh but made for thrilling TV.

“(Wednesday) I broke committee rules by reading from ‘committee confidential’ docs,” Booker tweeted on Sep. 7, after Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas suggested what the New Jersey senator had done was “likely a matter for the Senate Ethics Committee.”

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And indeed, there’s an ethics complaint out there, all courtesy of the people at the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.

“Judicial Watch announced today that it hand-delivered a letter to the chairman and co-chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics calling for an investigation into Sen. Cory Booker’s admitted violation of Senate rules by releasing confidential records through his social media accounts,” a Sep. 12 statement from the group read. “Sen. Booker faces expulsion from the Senate for his violation of the rules.”

“Sen. Booker, in an absurd invocation of ‘Spartacus,’ explicitly invited his expulsion from the Senate in his egregious violation of the rules and contempt for the rule of law and the Constitution,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in the complaint.

“Will the Senate assert the rule of law in the Booker case or allow mob rule to be the new standard?”

In addition to putting the documents on social media, Booker also put them up on Dropbox.

There’s a reason why the complaint might not go far, although it’s not particularly good for Booker’s campaign, either. Consider the fact that when he posted the documents, they’d already been declassified by the proper authorities.

“We cleared the documents last night shortly after Sen. Booker’s staff asked us to,” Bill Burck, George W. Bush’s presidential records representative, said the day of the kerfuffle.

“We were surprised to learn about Sen. Booker’s histrionics this morning because we had already told him he could use the documents publicly. In fact, we have said yes to every request made by the Senate Democrats to make documents public.”

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So basically, Booker either broke the rules of the Senate to deliver some unimportant information about Kavanaugh, or he pretended to break the rules of the Senate to deliver some unimportant information about Kavanaugh.

Does this sound like the kind of guy you think should be our next president?

Probably not, but that certainly won’t deter Booker from spending more time in New Hampshire (and Iowa, and South Carolina, and…). All that time, however, he probably ought to be thinking about this ethics complaint — and how it won’t be all that much better for him if he’s cleared because the whole show was about nothing in the first place.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture