Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D., NJ) published an extraordinary allegation against some of her colleagues that they had secretly monitored a conspiracy with rioters in the Capitol. If so, these members could face criminal charges and expel from the House. Conversely, if Sherrill does not have such evidence, she could (and should) face a dissolution of the review or dissolution.
Sherrill said in a live Facebook address Tuesday evening to her constituents that she witnessed the surveillance in person. She said unidentified members of Congress “had groups come through the Capitol” in “a clearing up for the next day.” Sherrill promised that these lawmakers would “be held accountable and, if necessary, ensure that they do not serve in Congress”.
This is a clear allegation of criminal behavior against colleagues. Once she has named a member, she could also be the subject of a defamation campaign. This was a statement made from the ground up and not protected by the speech and debate clause. It comes from a member who was a retired naval pilot and federal prosecutor.
Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution states: “Each House (of Congress) can establish the rules of procedure, punish its members for disorderly behavior and, with the consent of two-thirds, expel a member.” Discipline any conduct the House of Representatives detects that has discredited the institution. In re Chapman, 166, US 661, 669-670 (1897). A 1967 House Select Committee stated:
Criticism from a member was deemed appropriate in the event of a violation of House privileges. There are two types of privilege, one relating to the rights of the house as a whole, its safety, dignity, and the integrity of its process. and the other, which influences the rights, reputation and behavior of members individually. Most of the censure cases involved the use of non-parliamentary language, attacking a member or insulting the House by introducing offensive resolutions, but five in the House and one in the Senate [as of 1967] The criticism was based on the corrupt actions of a member, and in another Senate case, the criticism was based on non-cooperation and abuse of Senate committees.