GOP state lawmaker ousted after helping rioters storm Oregon Capitol


Oregon state Rep. Mike Nearman refused to resign, so his fellow state lawmakers expelled him from the chamber.

Republican state Rep. Mike Nearman was expelled from the Oregon Legislature on Thursday after it was discovered he assisted rioters who raided the state Capitol in December of last year. Nearman, who was caught on video letting the violent protesters into the building and also planning the attack with them in the days before, is the first lawmaker in Oregon state history to be expelled.

The expulsion resolution passed nearly unanimously by a vote of 59-1, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported. Nearman was the only lawmaker to vote against the expulsion.

Nearman had been facing calls for his resignation for five months after Oregon Public Broadcasting reported in January that Nearman had opened a door to the state Capitol to allow the far-right extremists inside as state lawmakers were in a special session.

The attack was similar to the one at the U.S. Capitol in January, with the rioters — some armed and carrying Confederate flags — attacking law enforcement officers with bear mace. The rioters said they were protesting multiple things, including measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus and Donald Trump's 2020 election loss.

Last week, another video surfaced of Norman planning the attack with his supporters, a development that led to a swift effort by Oregon lawmakers to expel him from the Legislature, including Nearman's fellow GOP members.

Nearman's GOP colleagues called on him to resign in a letter on June 7, stating, "Given the newest evidence that has come to light regarding the events of December 21, 2020, it is our belief as friends and colleagues that it is in the best interests of your caucus, your family, yourself, and the state of Oregon for you to step down from office."

That same day, Democratic state House Speaker Tina Kotek introduced the expulsion resolution, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

"The severity of Representative Nearman's actions and last week’s revelation that they were premeditated require a special committee to immediately consider expelling him from the House of Representatives," Kotek said in a statement. "He knowingly put the physical safety of everyone in the Capitol – lawmakers, staff and law enforcement – in jeopardy."

Kotek added, "As we saw in January at the U.S. Capitol, the ramifications could have been dire if law enforcement had not stepped in so quickly. This is an unprecedented situation facing the Legislature. It is beyond a workplace conduct issue and must be treated as such."

Nearman's expulsion is not the only punishment he faces for his actions. He also faces criminal charges, including official misconduct and criminal trespass.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.