Democracy Has Prevailed.

April 12, 2023

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington On Doug Mastriano

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (hereafter: "CREW") starts a recent report this way:

Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano’s apparent participation in and work to plan, mobilize and incite the attack on the Capitol on January 6th, after he swore multiple oaths to defend the Constitution, means he is likely ineligible to serve in office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. 

This, by the way, is Section 3 of the 14th Amendment:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability. 

Keep that in mind as we dip into CREW's report.

This is the basic outline of the report:

The facts provide a strong argument that Doug Mastriano is disqualified from holding public office under the Disqualification Clause. As detailed in the full report, those facts indicate Mastriano: 

  • helped to mobilize and incite the mob ahead of January 6th, including by spending thousands of dollars in campaign funds to charter buses to transport Trump supporters to Washington, D.C. for the day’s events
  • played a pivotal role in the fake electors scheme, a plot which the January 6th Select Committee concluded “led directly to the violence” on January 6th
  • personally joined the mob within the restricted area of the Capitol grounds on January 6th before ultimately leaving

Most of this stuff we've already covered here on this blog.

In the event you were wondering if this even applies to St Sen Mastriano, CREW has the answer:

To be subject to the Disqualification Clause, an individual must have previously taken an “oath... to support the Constitution of the United States.” Doug Mastriano has served as a senator for Pennsylvania’s 33rd District since 2019 when he was first elected in a special election. Mastriano was reelected to that seat in 2020, with his current term expiring in January 2024. Before assuming office in 2019 and again on January 5, 2021, Mastriano took an oath to “support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution [of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania]” and “to discharge the duties of [the office of senator] with fidelity.” Prior to his political career, Mastriano also took an oath to support the Constitution of the United States as a military officer in the Army. The text and history of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment make clear that the oath taken by former military officers meets the standard for disqualification if they participate in an insurrection and then seek civil office in the future.

Because he took oaths to support the Constitution both as a state legislator and a military officer, Mastriano is unquestionably subject to the Disqualification Clause.

 So yea, it applies.

Whether the GOP dominated State Senate will adhere to Article II, Section 11 of the Pennsylvania Constitution is an entirely different matter:

Each House shall have power to determine the rules of its proceedings and punish its members or other persons for contempt or disorderly behavior in its presence, to enforce obedience to its process, to protect its members against violence or offers of bribes or private solicitation, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, to expel a member, but not a second time for the same cause, and shall have all other powers necessary for the Legislature of a free State. A member expelled for corruption shall not thereafter be eligible to either House, and punishment for contempt or disorderly behavior shall not bar an indictment for the same offense.[Emphasis added.]

Two-thirds of the PA State Senate voting to expel Mastriano?

I'm not seeing it. No matter how solid CREW's evidence is. 

We will be returning to the report for a deeper dive into each of the bullet points above.