While Republicans who have been removed from committees before are getting assigned to key committees, they are also vowing to block Democrats over debunked smears.
House Republicans have reportedly selected four of their most extreme members to serve on the Committee on Oversight and Accountability in the new session of Congress. Two of them had been stripped of all committee assignments in the last Congress for inappropriate conduct.
Punchbowl News and the Washington Post are reporting that the new GOP majority will place Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and Scott Perry (R-PA) on the panel. The committee's stated mission is "to ensure the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the federal government and all its agencies."
In February 2021, Greene was removed from her committee assignments via resolution "in light of conduct she has exhibited" after she embraced antisemitic, Islamophobic, racist, and QAnon-related conspiracy theories; endorsed the execution of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; and falsely claimed mass school shootings were hoaxes intended to boost support for gun safety laws.
Gosar, who, like Greene, spoke at a March 2022 white nationalist event, lost his committee assignments in November 2021 and was formally censured for posting an animated video on social media that depicted a fictionalized version of himself assassinating his colleague, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and assaulting President Joe Biden.
Most of the Republican caucus opposed both moves, with then-Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy claiming that it was unprecedented and "authoritarian" for the majority party to overrule the minority party from deciding committee assignments for their own party members. He vowed in November 2022 that when his party regained control, he would restore Greene's and Gosar's committee appointments. "They'll have committees," the California Republican told reporters. "They may have better ones."
Boebert has also made antisemitic comments and pushed QAnon conspiracy theories. She has a history of failing to comply with ethics and campaign finance disclosure laws. Both she and Greene were fined by the House Ethics Committee during the last Congress for refusing to comply with mask requirements issued at the direction of the Capitol's attending physician to curb the spread of COVID-19.
In December, the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol issued a report that mentioned Perry's role in a scheme to overturn Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election and urged the Ethics Committee to sanction Perry for failing to comply with a subpoena.
The move to put all four on the powerful Oversight committee comes as the Republican majority seeks to block Democratic appointments to certain committees.
McCarthy has promised not to allow California Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff or Eric Swalwell to serve on the Intelligence committee, which Schiff previously chaired, or to let Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar serve on the Foreign Affairs panel.
On Jan. 12, according to Mediaite, McCarthy told reporters: "You will find the fundamental difference of me being a speaker and Nancy Pelosi: The other side will get to name their members on the committee. It won't be handpicked by me and denying the Democrats their voice."
When a reporter reminded McCarthy of his plans to block Democratic appointments, he responded by smearing Swalwell and Schiff with what Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler called "specious attacks" earning "four Pinocchios." He claimed that he heard negative things about Swalwell in a classified FBI briefing and accused Schiff of lying to the public.
On Saturday, Boebert told Fox News that she believes Schiff and Swalwell should be excluded from the Intelligence Committee because they and other Democrats are "conspiracy theorists" and "a bunch of Blue Anons."
On Wednesday, White House spokesperson Ian Sams blasted the GOP appointments, telling Axios: "It appears that House Republicans may be setting the stage for divorced-from-reality political stunts, instead of engaging in bipartisan work on behalf of the American people.
"Chairman [James] Comer once said his goal was to ensure the Committee's work is 'credible,' yet Republicans are handing the keys of oversight to the most extreme MAGA members of the Republican caucus who promote violent rhetoric and dangerous conspiracy theories."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.