House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is signaling now he will not comply with a subpoena issued by the House Select Committee reviewing Donald Trump’s efforts to reverse his presidential re-election loss. The California Republican will be joined in this challenge by other colleagues who played important roles in the attempted subversion.
The same Kevin McCarthy could very well be Speaker of the House in 2024. If Congress does not overhaul the outdated process that governs how Congress counts presidential voters, it could play a critical role in influencing which voters are counted. , which could tilt the result.
McCarthy reported in an editorial from the Wall Street Journal Thursday that he and other Republicans will likely refuse to cooperate with the Jan. 6 committee. It comes after CNN reported that two of those Republicans oppose the committee subpoena.
McCarthy’s case against committee subpoena is pure nonsense. Along with co-author Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who was also subpoenaed, McCarthy insists in the op-ed that the subpoena is a “dangerous abuse of power” that “serves no purpose legitimate legislation”.
The idea that subpoena serves no legislative purpose is patently false. committee members have already said the investigation will inform congressional deliberations on how to overhaul loopholes in the Voter Count Act of 1887, which Trump and his co-conspirators sought to exploit to undo his loss.
An ECA reform effort is already underway in the Senate, where Democrats and republicans are work on such a proposal. This shatters McCarthy’s apology.
There is no doubt that the work of the January 6 committee has the capacity to contribute to this effort. Indeed, the House Republicans themselves who are preparing to challenge the committee have information that could help inform this and other legislative recommendations.
Take Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania. The committee assigned him to discover their role trying to help Trump manipulate the Justice Department into creating a false pretense to invalidate Joe Biden voters. This could shape reforms that would make such manipulation of the ministry more difficult.
Or take Jordan. The committee wants to know about his being neck deep in effort to undo Trump’s loss through procedural means, including pressing state legislatures to certify false voters for Trump, justified on pretexts such as declare “verifications”.
Understanding the vulnerability of state-level actors to such corrupt pressure could help shape CEA reform. This will make it clear that reforms need to take into account a scenario in which corrupt public officials with success certify fictitious voters for a presidential candidate who has lost the state’s popular vote.
One way to proceed: integrating a new safety net role for the courts. If an effort to certify bogus voters causes a dispute in the state over which voters are the correct ones, the courts will determine which are legitimate. Congress would then be obligatory count those voters.
Under the current CEA, if a Republican-controlled state sends fictitious voters in 2024 and a GOP house led by Chairman McCarthy counts them, they will stand, potentially swinging the outcome. So the cover-up of Trump’s 2020 agenda by the same GOP lawmakers who would be able to count the shadow voters next time underscores why reform is so badly needed.
“McCarthy and his allies in Congress are actively covering up the conspiracy that nearly succeeded through the ECA,” said legal scholar Matthew Seligman, a ECA expert, said. “Anyone who conceals their own role in such a scheme cannot be trusted to count the right voters next time around.”
It is true that the subpoena of House GOP members by the committee is an extraordinary event. But the information these members are concealing relates to a even more extraordinary event.
Consider McCarthy himself. He refuses to disclose information about his direct communications with Trump just as Trump was essentially arming a mob to intimidate his vice president and GOP lawmakers into overturning the voter count, to hold himself in power illegitimately.
How can the person who will not release this information to the country have outsized control over the next voter count in a scenario where a state-level effort to certify fictitious voters could to succeed?
“It’s like putting bank robbers in charge of counting money in the bank,” Seligman told me. “It shows that reform is urgent.”
Let’s be very clear: the events around January 6, 2021 were everything on trying to subvert our constitutional and political order by subverting the voter count, first through extraordinary procedural corruption, then through violence.
McCarthy is trying to scuttle a reckoning of these events, primarily because it threatens his candidacy for the presidency. If he gains the power that comes with this role, he will be ready to play a vital role in the next voter count.
It is absurd and dangerous. He cannot be allowed to stand. But without ECA reform, this could very well become a reality.