Two groups trying to protect the Biden administration from legislative scrutiny risk breaking the law by obstructing hearings and threatening witnesses, according to a conservative legal group asking for an inquiry and, if warranted arrests
Following Republicans’ re-election to the House in November, the Congressional Integrity Project, which is funded by an arm of the liberal dark money funder Arabella Advisors and Facts First USA (run by Democratic operative David Brock), slammed GOP House members who will be in charge of oversight, most notably House Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer of Kentucky and House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio.
In an October letter, Brock asked for “direct attacks,” “an environment of backlash,” and “maximum pushback” against Republican lawmakers. America First Legal warns that this could lead to congressional hearings being obstructed, members of Congress being harassed, and witnesses and whistleblowers being intimidated, similar to how liberal protesters followed and taunted Republican senators during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 2018.
“Mr. Brock’s plan is simplistically derivative,” says Reed D. Rubinstein, director of investigations for America First Legal Foundation (AFL) in a March 16 letter to the House Sergeant at Arms William McFarland. “But in 2018 (for example), similar tactics were employed against Congressional staff and members to influence, obstruct, and impede Congressional hearings regarding Brett Kavanaugh. Therefore, there is ample reason to take seriously the promises made by Mr. Brock and his dark money affiliates of ‘direct attacks,’ ‘backlash,’ and coordinated ‘maximum pushback’ against members, staff, and witnesses.”
The AFL letter focuses primarily on Brock, the head of Facts First USA. However, the top of the letter states that the topic matter is about possible breaches of 18 U.S.C. 1505, which is defined in the United States Code as “obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies, and committees” by both Facts First USA and the Congressional Integrity Project.
“Here, congressional oversight of Mr. Brock and his dark money network may also be appropriate to expose the breadth of and funding sources for the planned interference, obstruction, or disruption of House oversight activities,” Rubinstein’s letter continued.
“But as sergeant of arms, you have the power to make arrests and enforce the laws of the United States within the geographical area containing all House members, their staff, and committee hearing rooms,” the letter adds. “Federal law grants you the same law enforcement authority as a member of the Capitol Police. Intimidation of congressional witnesses or whistleblowers, obstructing official congressional investigations, or otherwise interfering with constitutional obligations and rights are all crimes within your purview.”
Facts First USA directed Fox News Digital to its own March 17 message to McFarland, the House sergeant at arms, and stated that it is not affiliated with the Congressional Integrity Project.