PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Democratic lawmakers are calling for an investigation into Senator Doug Mastriano's role in Wednesdays riots in Washington D.C.
A group of Pa Senate democrats asked leaders to form a bi-partisan investigatory committee to look into "conduct by any Senator that violated state and federal law with regard to the attack on our democracy and the rule of law that occurred at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021."
A letter asking for the request of an investigatory committee was sentThursday to President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, Republican Leader Kim Ward and Democratic Leader Jay Costa.
It was signed by 16 Democratic representatives.
On Wednesday, Senator Tim Kearney (D-Delaware/Chester) called for the resignation of Senator Doug Mastriano (R-Cumberland/Franklin/York) on Wednesday after he attended a protest in Washington D.C.
Senator Kearney released a statement Wednesday night saying, “Doug Mastriano is a sitting senator who has actively organized a violent insurrection in an attempt to prevent a peaceful transfer of power. Senator Corman and Republican leadership should call for his immediate resignation. If he doesn’t resign, Senator Mastriano should be removed from all committee or leadership positions.”
Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) joined the call Thursday afternoon.
“I join my colleagues in calling on Doug Mastriano to immediately resign from the Pennsylvania Senate. He is unfit to serve. His participation in yesterday’s insurrection and attempted coup on behalf of Donald Trump is disgraceful and places a permanent stain on the state Senate," said Senator Hughes. "His continued presence in the Senate is offensive and should be unacceptable to every Pennsylvanian, regardless of political party."
Senator Hughes believes Mastriano openly conspired with President Trump to lay the foundation for what he calls "an attempted coup."
"Like all aspiring autocrats, Mastriano and Trump manipulated the very people who placed their faith in them and convinced them to do their bidding. Together, they proudly fanned the flames of insurrection. Yesterday, Mastriano traveled to Washington D.C. to see the fruits of his efforts and admire his work," added Hughes. "Today, because of Trump and Mastriano’s efforts, four people are dead, and the United States’ reputation as the world’s greatest democracy has been irreparably damaged. Not surprisingly, Mastriano is trying to minimize his role in yesterday’s attack on democracy and deflect the blame to others."
Later on Thursday, Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa issued the following statement:
"Senator Mastriano is guilty of encouraging yesterday’s coup attempt in Washington and inspiring its violent actors with his words and actions since November.
I support the First Amendment, and Senator Doug Mastriano has that right as well. However, as a public servant and sitting Senator – he, and all members of this body, must be held to a higher standard. For this reason, I am calling on him to resign. The residents of the 33rd senatorial district deserve to be represented by someone with a higher regard for this nation, its laws, its judicial system and its government.
Senator Mastriano has shown a disregard for the rule of law; and as former President John Adams said “we are a nation of laws.” Our elected leaders and government officials are bound by oath to respect and uphold those laws.
I strongly believe that Senator Mastriano’s cumulative conduct over the last three months is unbecoming of a member of the Pennsylvania Senate. Since November, Senator Doug Mastriano has been a loud proponent of Donald Trump’s anti-democratic conspiracy theories. He has questioned the integrity of our elections without evidence, wasted taxpayer resources with sham hearings that claimed fraud without proof, and yesterday he was intimately engaged in the protest at the nation’s capital that ultimately turned into a violent breach of the U.S. Capitol building."
Mastriano organized a bus ride from Chambersburg to Washington D.C. yesterday. The senator was pictured with former state house representative Rick Saccone.
Mastriano said he condemns the violence in Washington D.C.
"As a military veteran and retired colonel, I do not – nor would I ever – condone the violence we saw today".
In a statement, Mastriano said in part "... When it was apparent that this was no longer a peaceful protest, my wife and I left the area and made our way out of the area. At no point did we enter the Capitol building, walk on the Capitol steps or go beyond police lines."
He also called for those who broke the law to be prosecuted.
"I find it repugnant and disgusting, threatening American lives, politician lives. That's unacceptable... It's a form of terrorism and it's unAmerican," added Mastriano.
Mastriano posted an 11 minute Facebook video explaining his presence in Washington D.C.
FOX43's Grace Griffaton spoke to Representative Brian Sims -- who is calling for Mastriano to be indicted -- and Senator Kearney, who is calling for Mastriano's resignation.
"People didn't go there on some noble purpose," said Kearney. "They were gathering there at the beck and call of the current president to basically overthrow a process. There was no standing for them to do it."
"I believe Doug Mastriano's actions meet the elements required for seditious conspiracy," said Sims. "He should be indicted, tried, and convicted."
Other people don't see Mastriano's involvement in the same light. Many are hailing the senator on Facebook as a true patriot who fights for their rights. They question how his involvement in the event is different from when other lawmakers involved themselves in Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
"There is simply no way to compare the response to people voicing frustrations to decades of racism to people voicing frustration to a conspiracy theory disproven dozen of times in court," added Sims.
"There comes a point where people have to really stand behind the rhetoric they have been inflaming. Anyone could've seen this coming," said Kearney.
Right now, it is unclear if Senator Mastriano has broken any of the Senate's ethics rules.
Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R) is responding to those calls for resignation. He says that Senator Mastriano assured him that the senator did not participate in any unlawful activities. Corman says the Senate has no cause to act.