A closed-door ethics investigation into the conduct of Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has begun in the Senate Ethics Committee.

The two senators received bipartisan scrutiny after objecting to the certification of the Electoral College results on January 6 at the same time the Capitol building was stormed by rioters. While the Senate Ethics Committee does not comment on its investigations into the two senators, the panel is being led by Sens. Chris Coons (D-Delaware), who has previously called for the two senators to resign, and James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), who planned to object to the certification alongside Hawley and Cruz, but changed his mind after the riot.

When asked by reporters, Lankford said, “Neither of us are going to talk about it at all. We don’t bring up anything on the ethics stuff at all. We don’t confirm anything and we’re pretty lockstep about that.”

Hawley filed a counter complaint against the senators who originally complained about him alleging “improper conduct” for partisan gain. A Cruz spokesperson recent told reporters that “it sets a dangerous precedent when ethics complaints are used as a political tool to try to intimidate and punish,” seemingly agreeing with Hawley.

Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minnesota) signed the original complaint against Cruz and Hawley. She has since commented that she hopes the committee performs a deep dive into how the two senators prepared their objections prior to January 6’s joint session of Congress. 

“Accountability for the role they played is really important,” Smith said. “The Ethics Committee is the place where the Senate enforces its code of conduct and rules. What they did is unconscionable.”

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