On Wednesday, Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is set to present a resolution seeking to censure Mississippi Democrat Rep. Bennie Thompson. The resolution alleges that Thompson breached House rules by failing to adequately transfer all records from the January 6th Select Committee to the Clerk of the House.
The resolution, first obtained by the Post Millennial, was submitted to the House of Representatives by Gaetz, seeking to censure Thompson for violating the long-standing Rules of the House of Representatives. According to Gaetz, on December 30, 2022, Thompson sent a letter to the Biden White House, along with House property, in clear breach of the Rules. He repeated the same violation by sending a similar letter and records to the Department of Homeland Security.
The resolution outlines that as Chair of the J6 committee, Thompson had a specific obligation to turn over all committee records to the Clerk of the House at the close of Congress. This requirement is not simply a procedural formality – it serves to promote transparency and preserves the historical record of Congress, a public trust that must not be taken lightly.
“Lawmakers investigating the weaponization of the federal government are unable to determine which records of the January 6th Select Committee were kept or destroyed before Republicans took control of the House,” said Gaetz in a statement.
Despite this obligation, the resolution states Thompson intentionally violated this rule. His communications with the executive branch outlined his “expectation” that the House property he had improperly turned over would eventually be given to the National Archives. This expectation implicitly admits that the materials were, in fact, Congressional records, and that Thompson knowingly failed to comply with the requirement to deliver them to the Clerk of the House.
Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, chaired the January 6 Committee until it was dissolved before the new Congress convened in 2023.
The scope of records kept or improperly destroyed by the January 6th Committee remains uncertain, as indicated by the letter from Representative Barry Loudermilk, Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of the Committee on House Administration, to the National Archives requesting a catalog of records produced by the January 6th Committee. This uncertainty underscores the potential damage caused by Thompson’s disregard for the rules and the consequent lack of transparency.
Under Rule VII and Rule XI of the House Rules for the 117th and 118th Congresses, the responsibility for proper recordkeeping by a committee lies squarely with the committee chairperson. Thompson’s actions demonstrate an intentional violation or reckless neglect of this responsibility.
The proposed resolution calls for Thompson to be censured, to present himself for the pronouncement of censure in the well of the House of Representatives, to be censured with a public reading of the resolution by the Speaker, and finally, to be removed from the Committee on Homeland Security.
According to Gaetz, these measures are not merely punitive but are necessary steps to uphold the integrity of Congress and send a clear message that the rules governing our legislative body are not optional and that every representative must be held accountable.