Miami-Dade Democratic Party files Bar complaint against Matt Gaetz for alleged obstruction of impeachment process

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The complaint alleges two instances where Gaetz violated House rules.

The Miami-Dade Democratic Party is filing a complaint with The Florida Bar against U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, alleging he violated House rules during President Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry by attempting to enter secure rooms.

Before Trump’s impeachment, the House assigned a group of committees to investigate his actions regarding Ukraine.

As part of the investigation, those committees interviewed witnesses. The interviews were open to those committees only, though Democrats and Republicans sat on each committee.

The complaint cites two instances in which Gaetz attempted to enter those restricted interview hearings.

In one attempt, two dozen Republicans tried to enter a secure hearing room to interrupt the deposition of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper. Republicans protested what they called a “Soviet-style process” despite, again, several Republicans on the relevant committees being welcome to hear the testimony and ask questions.

CNN’s Manu Raju reported Gaetz led that stunt.

In a separate instance, Gaetz was kicked out of a closed-door interview with Fiona Hill, who served as a White House adviser on Russia.

Hill was testifying to the House Intelligence, Oversight, and Foreign Affairs committees. Gaetz doesn’t sit on any of those committees.

“Both intrusions are improper, unprofessional, and unethical and were meant only to feed Gaetz’s unjustifiably large ego and penchant for grandstanding,” the Bar complaint reads.

“These instances were in direct violation of operative rules contained in the 116th Congress Regulations for Use of Deposition Authority.”

The complaint cites House rules, which limited members of Congress who could sit in on those depositions. It also references a pair of Bar rules Gaetz allegedly violated.

One states a lawyer may not violate the oath “to support the constitutions of the United States and Florida.”

Another deals with attorneys obstructing an individual’s access to evidence or disobeying “an obligation under the rules of a tribunal except for an open refusal based on an assertion that no valid obligation exists.”

It’s unclear whether those allegations will stick as applied to the impeachment proceedings. But Miami-Dade Democratic Party Chair Steve Simeonidis argues the allegations are worth pursuing.

“Impeachment proceedings are a legal process leading to a trial, and therefore covered by The Florida Bar’s rules of conduct,” Simeonidis says.

“But Republican Attorney General Bill Barr isn’t going to hold a member of his own party responsible. So we must appeal to our state’s institutions to restrain this rogue lawyer who obstructed the impeachment process twice, and generally treats the powers of his elected office like a personal plaything.”

In 2019, Gaetz faced a separate Bar complaint after threatening to expose dirt on Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen ahead of Cohen’s testimony in the House. The Bar eventually dismissed the complaint. But the review panel did note in its findings that Gaetz was “unprofessional, reckless, insensitive, and demonstrated poor judgment.”

Gaetz did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the complaint.

Here is a copy of the complaint:

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


  • Larry Gillis

    February 6, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    MANUFACTURED RAGE. These type of complaints are SO bogus.

    They attempt to intimidate legislators by going after the legislator’s law licenses (if they happen to have one), alleging that non-Bar-related activities show lack of the character-and-fitness qualifications required of lawyers, etc. Obviously, it is a form of “collateral attack” that has nothing to do with the merits of the legislator’s activities in legislating. It is an attempt at intimidation.

    By way of analogy, remember that the Constitution expressly says that legislators cannot be questioned elsewhere for their legislative activities (“legislative immunity”). Remember Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska, when he released The Pentagon Papers? A lot of those papers were heavily classified, and release of them was a naked violation of federal criminal law. Legislative Immunity saved Gravel.

    Same here.

    (Pelosi’s conduct, tearing up the House’s record copy of the SOTU, is colorably a different matter, because the House rules seemingly directly address that conduct).

    Anyway, neither Gaetz, Pelosi, or Gravel should be “punished”, as a matter of sound public policy. For that matter, no reprimand should have been issued for the “YOU LIE” Representative who interrupted President Obama’s SOTU speech some years back.

    • Larry Gillis

      February 6, 2020 at 8:10 pm

      In all honesty, we Libertarians are dramatically less supportive of “prosecutorial immunity” (as opposed to legislative immunity, above), because the prosecutors can invoke the criminal law directly upon your head.

      Legislators, of course, not so much. Their impact is more long-term.

  • John Kociuba

    February 6, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    Dear Citizens ~

    Re: Prestidigitator Communist Demorats

    As the Democratic-Socialists aka “Menshevik Communist” use leftist State Attorney’s to promote lawless Unconstitutional Communist Manifesto they will continue expanding all Government powers to enhilate “Christians” & “Constitutionalists” like Hon. FL Congressman Matt Gaetz et al.

    Heretofore every Democrat is your enemy! Defend the Constitution from ALL enemies foreign and domestic! NYC is filing criminal charges against the NRA for violating Insurance law for advertising Gun insurance on their website.

    Not 1 other lawful company in the history of United States has been systematically attacked by Government for protecting Constitutional rights.

    • Jonathan Baker

      February 6, 2020 at 7:30 pm

      Sadly, as much as it sounds like it, I don’t believe this is satire.

  • Mark Storm

    February 6, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    Gaetz is a disgrace, but go figure he’s in a district full of white trash so not hard to imagine how he got elected

    • Drue Ferguson

      February 6, 2020 at 8:31 pm

      The truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth, thank you!

    • Pam Bartlett

      February 7, 2020 at 9:02 pm

      I don’t anything about his district. I think his complaint against the speaker is petty and she had the right to make a protest against the lies contained in the speech. Also, as always if she were a he wed not have the conversation. But his breaking the law and bar complaints should stand. Otherwise there is no law. He wants too act like Frat boy then fine, but take the law license

  • Linda

    February 6, 2020 at 10:06 pm

    I’m glad to know FL Democrats will address the fact that Matt Gaetz believes he is above the law. He obviously grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth and never had to face any repercussions for his behavior.

  • gary

    February 7, 2020 at 2:09 am

    More nonsense from the party of nonsense! demoRATS are retarded!


    February 7, 2020 at 11:08 am

    Teh, heh, heh! Gaetz is the Schmuck-Of-All-Schmucks!

  • Richard Nascak

    February 7, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    “[A] lawyer may not violate the oath “to support the constitutions of the United States and Florida.”

    If that’s the case, Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried and every other Democrat socialist lawyer and judge should be immediately disbarred.

Comments are closed.


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