GOP congressman finds out defending Capitol rioters has consequences

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As some Democrats push to censure Paul Gosar, his former co-sponsors are ditching his legislation.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) has been one of the most vocal defenders in Congress of the Capitol insurrectionists. In recent days, he's started to face the consequences.

Last week, Gosar — who spread bogus conspiracy theories about the 2020 election that fueled the deadly Jan. 6 attack and voted to overturn its results — proclaimed the people who stormed the U.S. Capitol to be "peaceful patriots" being harassed by the Department of Justice. He also accused a Capitol Police officer of carrying out an execution by shooting one of the rioters.

On Thursday, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and 19 House Democrats filed a resolution to censure Gosar for "undermining the seriousness of the insurrection" and "dangerously mischaracterizing the events of that day."

If a majority vote for Cicilline's proposal, Gosar will have to stand in the well of the House of Representatives for censure and to hear the resolution publicly read aloud — a rare and embarrassing rebuke.

A Gosar spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.

But even before that censure effort proceeds, Gosar is already being penalized by the Democratic majority through a growing boycott of his legislative efforts.

On Thursday, Reps. Anna Eshoo of California and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts went to the House floor and removed themselves as co-sponsors of H.R. 1127, Gosar's once bipartisan bill to crack down on foreign donations in American political campaigns.

In the last Congress, the bill had 11 co-sponsors — six of them Democrats. This year, Gosar filed it with only two Democrats (Eshoo and Moulton) joining the GOP backers.

A spokesperson for Moulton, who just returned to Washington, D.C., following paternity leave, made it clear in an email to the American Independent Foundation that he withdrew to avoid any association with Gosar:

When Congressman Moulton signs onto a bill with a Republican, he gives the Member of Congress that introduced it the credibility of bipartisanship, and, on foreign policy and national security, the credibility that comes with his background and his work in Congress. Republicans and Democrats who work across the aisle talk about that work at town halls and in meetings with their constituents to make the case that they are not the problem with Congress.

 

Congressman Gosar's participation in the riot on January 6th, his vote against the certification of the electoral college — which to be clear is a vote against the will of the American people — and his unwillingness in the days since to hold accountable President Trump and the people responsible for the attack on the Capitol are shameful and traitorous. Congressman Moulton needs to trust the colleagues he partners with on important legislation.

A spokesperson for Eshoo did not immediately respond to an inquiry about her withdrawal.

On Wednesday, Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA) introduced a renewable energy bill without Gosar — legislation that had been a joint effort by the two in 2019. Gosar, upset that Levin refused to make him an original co-sponsor, then filed an identical bill.

A spokesperson for Levin told E&E News on Thursday that Levin saw Gosar as toxic to the bill's chances.

"Congressman Levin invited Congressman Gosar to co-sponsor the bill like any other colleague," he explained. "However, Congressman Levin is determined to get this important legislation to President Biden's desk, and it's clear that having Rep. Gosar as a co-lead could be detrimental to that goal, particularly in the wake of the events of Jan. 6."

The House subcommittee plans to take up the Levin version of the bill on Monday — not the Gosar one.

Gosar has also been facing criticism recently for lying to the House clerk about why he was missing work in February and instead attending a white nationalist conference in Orlando, Florida.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.