Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of S.Carolina has been formally cited by 3 top ethics experts as a subject for investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee.
Their request for Sen. Graham’s ethics investigation is in connection with the information disclosed by Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to the Washington Post. SoS Raffensperger made public Graham’s suggestion to him to disempower voters from Georgia by not including their votes during the manual recount.
What the Georgia Secretary of State Revealed to the Washington Post
Apparently, Georgia’s SoS feared for his and his wife’s safety since he told the Washington Post that they have been receiving death threats as he insisted on protecting the integrity of the election in his state. According to the Georgia SoS, the death threats came after Georgia’s two Republican Senators namely: Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, asked him to resign; and at the same time make claims about election irregularities despite the absence of evidence.
Considered as one of Georgia’s most powerful officials, Mr. Raffensperger said he was being pressured by his own party to make claims of voter fraud. Still, he continued to defend his position that there is no reliable evidence to support large scale cheating during the election.
Presumably, the last straw that broke Mr. Raffensperger’s back so to speak, was when Sen.Graham called him and suggested for the Georgia SoS to discard all mailed-in ballotsfrom counties with a high rate of signature mismatch. Mr. Raffensperger believed that Graham wanted him to order his office staff to throw out valid ballots that have been legally cast.
The Ethics Watchdogs Calling Senator Graham’s Investigation
The political ethics experts who requested for the Senate Ethics committee to conduct the investigation are Walter Shaub, Richard Painter, and Claire Finkelstein. Walter Shaub is a former top ethics watchdog of the federal government, while Richard Painter served as the Chief Ethics Lawyer under the Bush administration. Claire Finkelstein is currently the Director of University of Pennsylvania’s CERL or Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law.
Through a letter, the three jointly wrote a request to Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Dela) who both lead the Senate Ethics Committee, seeking for an investigation on the allegations aired by Georgia SoS Raffensperger to the Washington Post. They wrote that applicable sanction or any other form of pertinent remedy must be carried out if Raffensperger’s allegations are proven true, because that denotes Graham’s conduct is “unbecoming of a senator.”
Senator Graham Denies the Accusations
During an interview with CNN, Graham denied SoS Raffensperger’s allegations, saying he called the Georgia SOS only to ask about the database used by the state and the signatures verification methods used when verifying mailed-in ballots. He further defended his call to the Georgia SOS by saying he had also asked the same questions from the State Secretaries of Arizona and Nevada.
However, both the SoS of the States of Nevada and Arizona said they have not been in communication with Senator Graham at all. That being said, Senator Graham changed his statement saying that he could not remember whom he spoke with in Nevada, but he was able to speak to the Governor of Arizona about the matter.