Watchdog group files ethics complaint against Booker a/k/a “Spartacus”

WASHINGTON, D.C.  The blow-back from Cory Booker’s ‘Spartacus’ routine at last week’s Kavanaugh confirmation hearings is still underway, Save Jerseyans.

On Wednesday, the nationally-known watchdog group ‘Judicial Watch’ hand-delivered a letter to both the chairman and co-chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics. The letter contains a demand for a formal investigation into whether Senator Booker (D-Twitter) violated Senate rules by publicly releasing records which, at least at one time, were confidential.

“Senator Booker, in an absurd invocation of ‘Spartacus,’ explicitly invited his expulsion from the Senate in his egregious violation of the rules and contempt for the rule of law and the Constitution,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Will the Senate assert the rule of law in the Booker case or allow mob rule to be the new standard?”

It’s an unusual case since Booker is the one saying he broke the rules while his detractors insist he didn’t; initially, on Friday, September 7th, Booker insisted he had broken Senate rules:

“Weds—I broke committee rules by reading from “committee confidential” docs.”

He followed up with a Saturday, September 9th Facebook entry doubling-down to the ‘Spartacus’ narrative:

“And the classification of many documents as ‘Committee Confidential’ is a sham… I willfully violate these sham rules. I fully accept any consequences that might arise from my actions including expulsion.”

Booker also uploaded records to a Dropbox account accessible by the public. But Republicans say he’s play-acting, pointing out that the documents’ release was pre-cleared.

A copy of the Judicial Watch letter is below the fold:

Dear Chairman Isakson and Co-Chairman Coons:

Judicial Watch, Inc. in a non-profit, non-partisan educational foundation that promotes transparency, accountability, and integrity in government and fidelity to the rule of law. We regularly monitor congressional ethics issues as part of our anticorruption mission.

Sen. Cory Booker admitted to violating Senate rules when he issued a tweet on Friday, September 7 saying:

Weds-I broke committee rules by reading from “committee confidential” docs.

(See https://twitter.com/CoryBooker/status/1038077511924629504.)

Sen. Booker then posted the following entry on his Facebook account on Saturday, September 9:

And the classification of many documents as “Committee Confidential” is a sham … I willfully violate these sham rules. I fully accept any consequences that might arise from my actions including expulsion.

(See https://www.facebook.com/corybooker/photos/a.115558592227/10158241220222228/?type=3&theater )

Sen. Booker uploaded Committee Confidential records to a publicly accessible Dropbox account with the heading “Booker Confidential – Kavanaugh Hearing Documents”.

(See https://www.dropbox.com/sh/cc4u94lgyncygn6/AABPGJkIiq5ND7KJuX7kXUX9a?dl=0 )

By publicly releasing Committee Confidential records, Sen. Booker appears to have violated provisions 5 and/or 6 of Rule 29 of the Standing Rules of the Senate (Rev. Jan. 24, 2013), which stipulate:

5.  Any Senator, officer or employee of the Senate who shall disclose the secret or confidential business or proceedings of the Senate, including the business and proceedings of the committees, subcommittees and offices of the Senate shall be liable, if a Senator, to suffer expulsion from the body; and if an officer or employee, to dismissal from the service of the Senate, and to punishment for contempt.

6.  Whenever, by the request of the Senate or any committee thereof, any documents or papers shall be communicated to the Senate by the President or the head of any department relating to any matter pending in the Senate, the proceedings in regard to which are secret or confidential under the rules, said documents and papers shall be considered as confidential, and shall not be disclosed without leave of the Senate.

(See pp. 48-49: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CDOC-113sdoc18/pdf/CDOC-113sdoc18.pdf )

We hereby request that the Senate Ethics Committee conduct a preliminary investigation into whether Sen. Booker violated Senate Rules by releasing Committee Confidential records through his social media accounts.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

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