Dem faces House ethics complaint for heated back-and-forth with Heritage scholar: 'How dare you'
Category: News & PoliticsVia: vic-eldred • 3 weeks ago • 2 comments
By: Emma Colton (Fox News)
EXCLUSIVE: Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts filed an ethics complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics over Democratic California Rep. Katie Porter allegedly "knowingly and intentionally defaming" a Second Amendment expert during a congressional hearing.
"I would love for the committee to reprimand the representative for doing what she did. I think at the very least there needs to be an apology. There needs to be a … retraction in the official record of that exchange. Because Amy [Swearer], who does not complain about things, has just been assailed … by the left and her reputation has been maligned," Roberts told Fox News Digital in a phone interview Wednesday.
The ethics complaint, which was reviewed by Fox News Digital and sent to OCE Chairman Mike Barnes on Wednesday, stems from a congressional hearing before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on June 8 regarding the "gun violence epidemic" in the United States.
The hearing became heated when Porter questioned Heritage legal fellow and Second Amendment expert Amy Swearer about testimony Swearer delivered during a 2019 hearing exchange with Republican Rep. Jim Jordan on the dangers of "assault weapons."
During the 2019 hearing, Jordan questioned Swearer about "guns Democrats want to ban," and asked her: "Do you think law-abiding people will be less safe to protect themselves, their family, their property, if this law that the Democrats are proposing actually happens, or this bill that the Democrats are proposing actually becomes law?"
"I think worse than that, sir. You will see millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens become felons overnight for nothing more than having scary looking features on firearms," Swearer responded to Jordan.
Swearer wrote in a recent op-ed that Jordan's line of questioning included "a series of general questions about" gun features Democrats wanted to ban, and he did not reference "any particular bill or bills by name" when asking if law-abiding citizens will be "less safe to protect themselves." But at the time of the hearing, Democratic Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline had introduced a bill with a grandfather provision that would allow gun owners to retain firearms they already owned.
Flash forward to June of this year, Porter argued that Swearer "falsely testified under oath" about Cicilline's bill, sparking a heated back-and-forth between the two.
"So you knew that the bill would allow any gun owner to maintain possession of any semi-automatic assault weapon that was lawfully possessed before the bill became law," Porter said, before adding later twice "you falsely testified under oath."
The exchange was highlighted by repeated interruptions, with Swearer trying to respond to the accusation and charging at one point, "How dare you."
"How dare you misstate the law," Porter continued.
"How dare you ask questions you don't even want an answer to," Swearer responded.
Roberts said the exchange was "premeditated," pointing to Porter sharing a clip of the exchange on social media that garnered hundreds of thousands of views.
"In addition to making a false perjury claim about someone whose integrity is impeccable, that's Amy [Swearer], and therefore calling into question the entire credibility of Heritage, this is premeditated. And we know that because the representative immediately went to Twitter and other social media platforms and doubled and tripled down," Roberts told Fox News Digital.
Porter's office said the comment that Swearer "falsely testified under oath" is not "a perjury claim, which requires intent and which Rep. Porter did not allege."
The exchange between Swearer and Porter subsequently gained hundreds of thousands of views on social media, after Porter posted a clip of the back-and-forth.
"Special interests are lying to the American people to block gun violence prevention legislation. The same witness who misled Congress in 2019 is back today to advocate against sensible measures that would keep Americans safe. I called out her BS," she wrote in the tweet, using language that Swearer "misled Congress," as opposed to "falsely testified."
Roberts said he would also like to see the "misled Congress" language "retracted," as it maligns "Amy's reputation and the reputation of Heritage."
"We don't mind a policy disagreement, we rather like that, and we respect that Representative Porter and we have different opinions about the policy," Roberts added. But what he and other members of Heritage "don't appreciate is" the exchange was "politicized" and that the "criminal accusation was done falsely, and for those political purposes."
"[Porter is] clearly using it, I think literally, to raise money. And it's such an affront to how we do business. We decided we weren't going to lay down. And we're going to call out the reprehensible behavior," he said.
When approached for comment on the ethics complaint Thursday, Porter's office told Fox News Digital that Swearer should not have given testimony in 2019 that Americans "'become felons overnight'" due to proposed gun legislation, calling her comment "misleading and unsubstantiated."
"Like Mr. Roberts, Congresswoman Porter believes that policy debates are part of healthy democracy. To have those debates, we must have shared facts. And the facts here are clear: Ms. Swearer's claim that gun violence prevention legislation would make Americans 'become felons overnight' is misleading and unsubstantiated. She should not have given that testimony, under oath, to Congress," Porter spokesperson Jordan Wong said.