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Does a resolution to censure or an actual censure of a sitting House member have any teeth? In 2019, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) authored a resolution to censure Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). Schiff had grossly mischaracterized a phone call between Donald Trump and the President of Ukraine and helped initiate an impeachment inquiry.
This was just one of the frivolous investigations that Schiff has led or participated in regarding Trump while he was a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence. Indeed, Schiff already knew that there was nothing illegal about the phone call, but he persisted in wasting taxpayers’ money and time. However, the resolution to censure didn’t pass in the House.
Fast forward to June 2023, and another motion to censure Schiff was put forth by Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.). This censure effort revolved around an impeachment attempt based on the fraudulent Steele dossier. The Democrats knew that their Russia/Trump collusion narrative to interfere in the 2016 election was based on disinformation, yet they plowed ahead.
On Twitter, Schiff pompously played the victim and stated, “MAGA Republicans are going after me because I dared to hold Donald Trump accountable. These efforts to intimidate me will not succeed. I will always defend our democracy.” He didn’t mention the objective evidence that was suppressed and the witnesses who were censored while he sat on partisan panels that kept churning out a one-sided narrative.
Luna countered with this about Schiff. “Adam Schiff literally used his position on House Intelligence, read a cooked-up dossier into a congressional record and honestly helped with the illegal spying and violation of the American citizens’ civil liberties, and yet people are still trying to defend this guy,” she said, reported the Los Angeles Daily News. She noted that she would lead another modified effort to censure Schiff in the near future.
The current censure motion impacts California because five of the twenty Republicans who voted to table the resolution were from this state. Why did they let Schiff off the hook again by voting with the Democrats to end the formal rebuke? One can understand the Democrats’ desire to circle the wagons around Schiff regardless of his behavior.
The final tally that allowed Schiff to skate was 225-196. Seven members voted present, which is a neutral stance. If twenty GOP votes had been reversed, Schiff would have faced the consequences of a formal admonition. It’s common knowledge that Schiff has often targeted conservatives based on flimsy or non-existent evidence and misled Americans regarding events on Jan. 6, 2021, so why not censure him?
Perhaps some House members believe that morality can’t be legislated, and censures would be minimally effective. On the other hand, they might think that passing censure reprimands will only set up a pattern of left and right (no pun intended) vendettas down the road. One wonders what voters think about the guidelines surrounding congressional censures and expulsions.
Along with Eric Early (R), Barbara Lee (D), Katie Porter (D), and Lexi Reese (D), Schiff has thrown his hat in the ring to replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in 2024. Do the voters want to elect a dishonest Schiff to become one of the two senators in this state? Will they vote for members of Congress who waste people’s time by attacking opponents while protecting corrupt behavior within Democratic ranks?
Republicans shouldn’t escape scrutiny either. Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) wildly inflated his career resume and was involved in prior illegal activities. Shouldn’t he have been censured or perhaps even expelled from the House? Both sides of the aisle ought to police their own members instead of unleashing the politics of personal destruction.
The role of Congress is to write up laws that defend liberty, strengthen equal justice under the law, and enhance national security. Members are supposed to represent the will of their constituents by adhering to fiscal accountability, constitutional principles, and transparency. They are elected to uphold the national interest instead of eroding the rule of law.
Finally, censures have been utilized in both private and public sector organizations as a means to curb conflicts of interest, corruption, and other forms of moral turpitude. Even the threat of censure equally applied ought to give any politician a cause for reflection. Will two censure resolutions alter the behavior of a defiant Adam Schiff? Time will tell, but don’t hold your breath as it might take a miracle.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.