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EXCLUSIVE: Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts has filed an ethics complaint with the Congressional Ethics Office against California Democratic Rep. Katie Porter, who allegedly “knowingly and intentionally defamed” a Second Amendment expert during a a congressional hearing.
“I would like the committee to reprimand the representative for doing what she did. I think there needs to be at least an apology. There needs to be a…retraction in the official record of this exchange. Because that Amy [Swearer]who doesn’t complain about things, has just been assaulted… by the left and his reputation slandered,” Roberts told Fox News Digital in a phone interview Wednesday.
The ethics complaint, which was reviewed by Fox News Digital and sent to OCE Chairman Mike Barnes on Wednesday, stems from a congressional hearing before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on June 8 regarding the “epidemic of gun violence” in the United States.
The hearing heated up when Porter asked Heritage lawyer and Second Amendment expert Amy Swearer about testimony Swearer gave during a 2019 audience exchange with Republican Rep. Jim Jordan about the dangers of “assault weapons”.
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During the 2019 hearing, Jordan asked Swearer about “the guns Democrats want to ban” and asked, “Do you think law-abiding people will be less safe to protect themselves, protect their family, their assets, if this law that the Democrats are proposing actually happens, or does this bill that the Democrats are proposing become law?”
“I think worse than that, sir. You’ll see millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens become criminals overnight for nothing more than having scary features on guns,” Swearer replied to Jordan. .
Swearer wrote in a recent op-ed that Jordan’s line of questioning included “a series of general questions about” the features of firearms Democrats wanted to ban, and he did not refer to “any particular bill or nominative” when he asked if law-abiding citizens will be “less sure of protecting themselves”. But at the time of the hearing, Rhode Island Democratic Rep. David Cicilline had introduced a bill with a grandfather clause that would allow gun owners to keep guns they already owned. .
Flash forward to June this year, Porter argued that Swearer “falsely testified under oath” about Cicilline’s bill, sparking a heated back-and-forth between the two.
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“So you knew the bill would allow any gun owner to retain possession of any semi-automatic assault weapon that was legally owned before the bill became law,” Porter said. , before later adding twice “you have falsely testified under oath”.
The exchange was highlighted by repeated interruptions, with Swearer trying to respond to the accusation and at one point charging, “How dare you.”
“How dare you bend the law,” Porter continued.
“How dare you ask questions you don’t even want answered,” Swearer replied.
Roberts said the exchange was “premeditated”, pointing out that Porter shared a clip of the exchange on social media which garnered hundreds of thousands of views.
“In addition to making a perjury false statement about someone whose integrity is beyond reproach, it’s Amy [Swearer], and thus calling into question all the credibility of Heritage, it is premeditated. And we know that because the rep immediately took to Twitter and other social media platforms and doubled and tripled,” Roberts told Fox News Digital.
The exchange between Swearer and Porter later garnered hundreds of thousands of views on social media, after Porter posted a clip of the back-and-forth.
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“Special interests are lying to the American people to block gun violence prevention legislation. The same witness who misled Congress in 2019 is back today to argue against common sense measures that would keep Americans safe. I called her BS,” she wrote in the tweet, using language that Swearer “misled Congress,” as opposed to “falsely testified.”
Roberts said he would also like to see the “congressionally misled” language “retracted” because it disparages “Amy’s reputation and Heritage’s reputation.”
“We don’t care about a political disagreement, we rather like it, and we respect this Rep. Porter and we have different opinions on politics,” Roberts added. But what he and other members of Heritage “don’t appreciate is that” the exchange was “politicized” and that “the criminal charge was brought wrongly and for these political purposes”.
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“[Porter is] clearly using it, I literally think, to raise funds. And it’s such an affront to the way we do business. We decided not to go to bed. And we’re going to call out the wrongful behavior,” he said.
Porter’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on the matter.