Dem. Rep. Porter faces new ethics complaint

The Washington Times reports that an ethics complaint has just been filed against Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA). 

The complaint has been filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics by Kevin Roberts, the president of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank.

Roberts accuses Porter of “knowingly and intentionally defaming” a Republican-called witness during a congressional hearing that took place last month.


The ethics complaint stems from a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing that occurred on June 8. The topic of the hearing was the United States’ so-called “gun violence epidemic.”

During the hearing, Porter targeted Amy Swearer, a Heritage legal fellow and Second Amendment expert who was called by the Republicans. Porter specifically targeted Swearer for comments that she made during a 2019 hearing about the dangers of “assault weapons.”

During that 2019 hearing, Swearer responded to a question about whether a ban on “assault weapons” would make law-abiding Americans less safe. Swearer answered in the affirmative, adding, “you will see millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens become felons overnight for nothing more than having scary-looking features on firearms.”

It was this comment that Porter narrowed in on during last month’s hearing. Porter accused Swearer of having “falsely testified under oath,” considering that, in Porter’s words, “the bill would allow any gun owner to maintain possession of any semi-automatic assault weapon that was lawfully possessed before the bill became law.”

What followed this accusation was an exchange with many interruptions. At one point, Swearer said, “How dare you?” to which Porter responded, “How dare you misstate the law?” Swearer followed up with, “How dare you ask questions you don’t even want an answer to?”

The complaint

It is regarding this targeting of Swearer that Roberts has filed the ethics complaint against Porter. Roberts alleged that the exchange was “premeditated.”

“In addition to making a false perjury claim about someone whose integrity is impeccable, that’s Amy [Swearer], and therefore calling into question the entire credibility of Heritage, this is premeditated,” Roberts said. “And we know that because the representative immediately went to Twitter and other social media platforms and doubled and tripled down.”

We’ll see what comes of the complaint. But, it is probably unlikely that Porter will be held accountable.

Porter, in response to the ethics complaint, released the following statement:

Like Mr. Roberts, Congresswoman Porter believes that policy debates are part of healthy democracy. To have those debates, we must have shared facts. And the facts here are clear: Ms. Swearer’s claim that gun violence prevention legislation would make Americans ‘become felons overnight’ is misleading and unsubstantiated. She should not have given that testimony, under oath, to Congress.

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