New Bar Complaint Filed Against Congressman Matt Gaetz
The Miami-Dade Democratic Party filed a formal bar complaint against Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) for interrupting multiple closed-door impeachment inquiry hearings on Capitol Hill last October, according to the Miami New Times.
While the complaint most likely will not yield results, the Miami-Dade Democrats want the Florida Bar to sanction Gaetz, a licensed attorney in the state.
“Impeachment proceedings are a legal process leading to a trial, and therefore covered by the Florida Bar’s rules of conduct,” Miami-Dade Democratic Party chair Steve Simeonidis said in a media release. “But Republican Attorney General Bill Barr isn’t going to hold a member of his own party responsible. So we must appeal to our state’s institutions to restrain this rogue lawyer who obstructed the impeachment process twice and generally treats the powers of his elected office like a personal plaything.”
The Miami-Dade Democrats argue that some of Gaetz’s stunts on Capitol Hill might have serious legal violations. On October 14, he claimed his position on the House Judiciary Committee gave him the right to enter a closed-door hearing involving former presidential adviser Fiona Hill. He was subsequently kicked out.
On October 23, he led members of the House Freedom Caucus -- a collection of mostly white men who are some of the farthest-right members of the House -- into a closed Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) room to interrupt Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and demand an end to the impeachment inquiry.
“Both intrusions are improper, unethical, and were meant only to feed Gaetz’s unjustifiably large ego and penchant for grandstanding,” the complaint filed reads. “These instances were in direct violation of the operative rules contained in the 116th Congress Regulations for Use of Deposition authority.”
The Miami-Dade Democrats argue that Gaetz’s actions also broke Florida Bar rules because lawyers in the state are not allowed to willfully obstruct the evidence-gathering process and cannot intentionally obstruct the “rules of a tribunal.”
“Gaetz is not a member of any of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, or Oversight Committees, and he knew or should have known that he was not permitted to attend any of the closed-door depositions being held by these committees,” the complaint states.