CREW called on Senator James Lankford to recuse from any Senate Ethics Committee investigations of Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley and their roles in inciting the armed insurrection on January 6th. Senate rules require Lankford to recuse given his involvement in the events that led to the insurrection, as well as due to his connections to Cruz and Hawley.

Senator Lankford was a member of Cruz’s coalition of 11 Republican senators who vowed “to reject the Electoral College tallies unless Congress launche[d] a commission to immediately conduct an audit of the election results.” Lankford also pushed debunked claims of illegal votes and of dead people voting. On the morning of January 6th, he spoke on the Senate floor opposing certification of Arizona’s electoral votes. 

These actions undermined confidence in the free and fair election. Undermining that public confidence may well have helped incite the mob that carried out an armed insurrection attempting to hold up the transfer of power. Senator Lankford must not be allowed to weigh in on any investigation of his colleagues’ conduct when his own behavior may have contributed to the issue at hand.

Seven senators filed an ethics complaint against Cruz and Hawley today, demanding an investigation into whether their challenges to election results on January 6th contributed to the violence at the Capitol, so an investigation may be imminent. 

Given the Ethics Committee’s role as the Senate’s chief ethics body, it is vital that committee members take recusal questions seriously, and follow Senate rules. The country is bitterly divided and desperately searching for answers after the horrific attack on our democracy on January 6th. Fair and careful investigations are the only way forward. Senator Lankford should announce his recusal immediately.

Read More in Letters