The U.S. House of Representatives under Republican leadership voted to launch a Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government Tuesday. The subcommittee is set to have wide jurisdiction and impressive powers to investigate all alleged violations of Americans' constitutional rights and civil liberties by agencies of the Biden administration.
The new subcommittee was created in a party-line vote with 221 Republicans voting for it against 211 Democrats. The committee is the result of fierce negotiations between newly-minted Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and the 20 Republican hold-outs who dissented from the House Republican Conference for fourteen rounds of voting.
Republican Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) is expected to chair the subcommittee in addition to the Judiciary Committee which it is organized under.
The panel will be modeled after the historic 1975 Church Committee chaired by Senator Frank Church in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, according to Breitbart. The 13-member panel will consist of seven Republicans plus a chairman, and five Democrats to be nominated, subject to McCarthy's approval, by House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) January 11, 2023
Approval of minority party members from the Speaker was a mere formality for decades and was taken as a House norm. However, that tradition became shattered when the Select Committee on the January 6th Capitol Attack was launched on partisan lines by former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). The Democrats broke House norms by throwing out every Republican nominated to the panel and hand-picking just two rabidly anti-Trump members: now-ex-Congress members Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.
According to the resolution that authorized the subcommittee, the scope of the investigation is to include:
(A) the expansive role of article II authority vested in the executive branch to collect information on or otherwise investigate citizens of the United States, including ongoing criminal investigations;
(B) how executive branch agencies work with, obtain information from, and provide information to the private sector, non-profit entities, or other government agencies to facilitate action against American citizens, including the extent, if any, to which illegal or improper, unconstitutional, or unethical activities were engaged in by the executive branch or private sector against citizens of the United States;
(C) how executive branch agencies collect, compile, analyze, use, or disseminate information about citizens of the United States, including any unconstitutional, illegal, or unethical activities committed against citizens of the United States;
(D) the laws, programs, and activities of the executive branch as they relate to the collection of information on citizens of the United States and the sources and methods used for the collection of information on citizens of the United States;
(E) any other issues related to the violation of the civil liberties of citizens of the United States; and
(F) any other matter relating to information collected pursuant to the investigation conducted under this paragraph at any time during the One Hundred Eighteenth Congress.
In the 117th Congress, the Judiciary Committee Republicans under then-Ranking Member Jordan released a 1,000-page report summarizing the testimonies of several Department of Justice whistle-blowers that is likely to serve as the guide stone for the subcommittee. Via Twitter, the House Judiciary GOP explained, “The report builds on various whistleblower disclosures describing the FBI’s Washington hierarchy as ‘rotted at its core' with a ‘systemic culture of unaccountability.'”
In a direct rebuke to the conduct of the January 6th Committee, in an interview with Sean Hannity, Reps. Jordan, James Comer (R-KY), and Speaker McCarthy stated that the Democratic leadership would be able to appoint any Congress members they choose to the subcommittee.