(1/2) The Senate Select Committee on Ethics is authorized to receive and investigate allegations of improper conduct which may reflect upon the Senate, violations of law, violations of the Senate Code of Official Conduct and violations of rules and regulations of the Senate
The Senate's top two Republican lawmakers say Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) might be subject to an official review by the Senate Ethics Committee for releasing documents labeled “confidential” related to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s past work at the White House.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Hugh Hewitt on Friday that Booker's decision — which the Democratic senator acknowledged violated the Senate rules — was “unusual” and that he wouldn't be surprised if it was reviewed by the Senate Ethics Committee.
“Let me just say this. When you break the Senate rules, it’s something the Ethics Committee could take a look at. And that would be up to them to decide. But it’s routinely looked at the Ethics Committee,” McConnell said.
Pressed if he thought the committee should look into Booker “expeditiously,” McConnell demurred.
“I don’t order, the majority leader doesn’t order the Ethics Committee to take matters up. They do it on their own initiative. ... But they have an obligation to look into violations of the Senate rules, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they did,” McConnell said.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the No. 2 GOP senator, separately re-tweeted a video of Booker saying he “knowingly” violated the rules, adding: “This is likely a matter for the Senate Ethics Committee.”
Cornyn went on to tweet the rules for the Senate Ethics Committee.
Booker sparked a rhetorical firestorm on Thursday when he decided to release emails from Kavanaugh's work as a lawyer for President George W. Bush that were marked “committee confidential,” meaning they hadn't been cleared for public distribution.
Booker released a total of six tranches of documents on Thursday. The first, though Booker called it “committee confidential,” had been publicly cleared for release by Bill Burck, the lawyer for President George W. Bush.
Booker subsequently shared five sets of documents that were still classified as “confidential.”
Booker is seen as a possible 2020 candidate for president, a fact Cornyn pointed to on Thursday in criticizing his actions.