New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik is alleging judicial misconduct by a federal judge who has overseen various Jan. 6-related cases.
Stefanik filed a complaint Friday and requested an ethics probe into U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell over “highly inappropriate political speech” in November, the outlet reported.
A member of House leadership and an ally of former President Donald Trump, Stefanik gained much attention last week after her questioning of three university presidents regarding on-campus antisemitism around the country.
Stefanik’s complaint about Howell was submitted to D.C. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan and first shared with NBC News.
The alleged misconduct occurred when Howell accepted an award at the Women’s White Collar Defense Association (WWCDA) gala on Nov. 27.
“I filed a Complaint of Judicial Misconduct against Judge Beryl Howell, because election interference by judges destroys public confidence in the federal judiciary, tears apart the fabric of our Republic, and is illegal. It must end now,” Stefanik posted Friday morning to X, formerly known as Twitter, with her full complaint.
“DC Obama Judge Beryl Howell gave a highly inappropriate speech in which she insinuated the election of President Trump will lead to fascism in America. She also inappropriately allowed a public display of her cozy personal relationships with her partisan friends who appear before her, including the Biden Deputy Attorney General who supervises the January 6 criminal prosecutions.”
The judge, who was appointed by former Democrat President Barack Obama, spoke to the women’s club crowd “about the importance of facts,” citing the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
“My D.C. judicial colleagues and I regularly see the impact of big lies at the sentencing of hundreds, hundreds of individuals who have been convicted for offense conduct on Jan. 6, 2021, when they disrupted the certification of the 2020 presidential election at the U.S. Capitol,” Howell said. “As district court judges, we are all about the facts.”
In her complaint, Stefanik argues that Howell’s remarks were “hardly apolitical” and “plainly inappropriate, consisting of partisan statements, election interference, and improper extrajudicial statements while criminal cases are pending,” according to NBC News.
During her speech, Howell referred to a passage in a book by Heather Cox Richardson, author of “Democracy Awakening,” that said the U.S. was “at a crossroads, teetering on the brink of authoritarianism.”
The congresswoman pointed to that as evidence the judge’s speech became political.
“[Howell] promoted the Democrat political campaign theme that the reelection of Donald Trump equates to America choosing authoritarianism,” Stefanik said in her complaint.
More than 1,200 people have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021 attack at the Capitol. More than 700 have pleaded guilty to federal charges, according to the Department of Justice.