The Washington-based watchdog group Campaign for Accountability has filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics demanding an investigation into whether Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, violated federal law, House rules and the Constitution by inciting a riot and seditious conspiracy.
The complaint shows how Brooks’ speech at the Jan. 6, 2021, “Save America March” likely encouraged the assault on the U.S. Capitol just hours later.
“Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass!” Brooks said in his Wednesday speech directly before the assault on the Capitol. “Now our ancestors sacrificed their blood, their sweat, their tears, their fortunes and sometimes their lives. So I have a question for you: Are you willing to do the same? … My answer is yes!”
“Are you willing to do what it takes to fight for America? … Will you fight for America?” Brooks asked the crowd, between calls for the audience to yell “louder!”
CFA cites these remarks and others as evidence in their complaint, accusing Brooks of being culpable for “incitement to riot and seditious conspiracy,” according to a CFA statement on the complaint.
“Rep. Brooks explicitly and repeatedly called on the protesters to ‘fight,’ resulting in an armed insurrection,” said Michelle Kuppersmith, executive director of CFA. “Rep. Brooks is as culpable as those who stormed the Capitol and must be held accountable.”
CFA alleges Brooks violated two federal statutes, one preventing individuals from inciting, encouraging, and aiding or abetting others in a riot (18 U.S.C. § 2101), and another prohibiting two or more persons to conspire to use “force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States ” (18 U.S.C. § 2384), according to their complaint.
CFA also alleges Brooks violated House Rule 23 of the House Ethics Manual, which requires members of the House to “conduct themselves at all times in a manner that reflects creditably on the House.” CFA contests Brooks broke all three, and continued further, stating Brooks may have violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars congressmen from participating or aiding in an “insurrection or rebellion” against the U.S government.
“The coordination between Representative Brooks and his colleagues clearly shows an intent to disrupt the legitimate democratic process of certifying the Electoral College vote count in Congress, which was occurring concurrently, and was successfully disrupted by the riot,” Kuppersmith said in the statement. “It’s hard to imagine anything that brings greater discredit to the House than a member of Congress – who has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution – inciting an angry mob to violently protest against the legitimate results of a democratic election. Whether or not Rep. Brooks is charged criminally for his actions, he must be expelled from Congress for his role inciting the insurrection.”