The following is a letter signed by several dozen lawmakers demanding answers over allegations that U.S. Capitol Police were spying on Republican members of Congress.
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Dear Speaker Pelosi and Chairwoman Lofgren,
The recent Politico report that U.S. Capitol Police have been monitoring Members of Congress,their staff, constituents, and supporters raises serious constitutional concerns. We request that the Committee on House Administration immediately open an inquiry into these allegations.
Politico has reported that “the Capitol Police’s intelligence unit quietly started scrutinizing the backgrounds of people who meet with lawmakers[.]” According to the report, Capitol Police is monitoring the online activity of congressional staff and individuals who meet with Members of Congress. For meetings that take place outside of the capitol complex Capitol Police is reviewing property tax information to determine who owns the building where meetings take place and is reviewing online information to determine if any of the meeting attendees have contacts with foreign nationals. Additionally, Capitol Police were directed to look for information on donors and staff “that would cast a member in a negative light|.]”
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If true, these allegations are serious violations of Americans’ civil rights and civil liberties. Our constituents have the right to petition Congress and they should be able to exercise this right without fear that Capitol Police will scrutinize their property taxes, social media, or relationships.
This reporting also leaves many serious questions unanswered. Does Capitol Police conduct background checks on every meeting that takes place in the Capitol complex? Are these analyses conducted without the knowledge or approval of the member? For meetings that take place outside of the Capitol complex, do Capitol Police run background checks on attendees? These are just a few of the questions that need to be answered. If Congress does not address this issue our constituents may be hesitant to make their voices heard. This can only damage our republic.
The House Administration Committee must immediately inquire into these troubling allegations.The American people deserve to know whether they are being monitored by Capitol Police for merely meeting with their elected representatives.