Tea Party group wants Schiff investigated for ethics violations in impeachment inquiry

The conservative nonprofit group Tea Party Patriots Action sent a letter Tuesday to the Office of Congressional Ethics demanding that it investigate whether House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., violated House rules in his pursuit of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

“Rep. Schiff has repeatedly made false statements to the public and the media in his capacity as Ranking Member and now Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence,” Jenny Beth Martin, the honorary chairman of the Tea Party Patriots, wrote in her letter.

Martin added: “These instances of blatantly false and misleading statements – as well as Rep. Schiff’s ongoing misuse of his power and authority on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to advance his partisan political interests, his fabrication of testimony, and his overt efforts to seek incriminating information from Ukrainian sources about the President of the United States – bring into question Rep. Schiff’s suitability to continue to serve as Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, in particular when the critical subject that Rep. Schiff is making much of relates to the Ukraine.”


Martin argues that Schiff has violated House Rule XXIII, which is the official code of conduct for lawmakers in the lower chamber, by “establishing a pattern of misconduct that reflects poorly on the U.S. House of Representatives” and abusing his power as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Since the announcement by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., of a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump, Schiff has been in the crosshairs of many conservative pundits and lawmakers – specifically the president himself – who have called into question a number of the California Democrat’s actions.

Martin’s letter to the OCE specifically calls out Schiff for the dramatization he gave of Trump's July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire's hearing. Schiff improvised parts of the transcript between the two world leaders and later argued that it was meant as satire.

Schiff’s satiric transcript reading earned him more withering criticism from Trump – who called the move “treasonous” – as well as calls for censure from Republicans in the House.


“[R]ather than entering into the record the actual transcript of the call, Rep. Schiff chose to depart from all normal and customary protocols of the House, and proceeded to open the hearing of the Intelligence Committee with a fictional narrative of what he apparently wished the transcript of the call to have been,” Martin said.

She added: “The Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence surely cannot be excused from his misconduct in deliberately misleading the American people and distorting the record of his committee.”

Martin also slammed Schiff for his involvement in a prank call with two Russian shock jocks who claimed they had compromising photos of Trump.

In the clip, which was dug up by Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz, Schiff jokingly tells the Russian shock-jocks, who were posing as Andriy Parubiy, the former speaker of Ukraine's parliament, that he would be willing to accept dirt on Trump from the Ukrainian.

“So, you have recordings of both [Russian journalist Ksenia] Sobchak and [Russian model and singer Olga] Buzova where they're discussing the compromising material on Mr. Trump?" Schiff asked the callers posing as Parubiy.

"Absolutely," one of the pranksters responded.


"Well obviously we would welcome a chance to get copies of those recordings," Schiff said later in the call after he and the fake "Parubiy" go on to discuss more details of the bogus allegations.

While Gaetz and other GOP lawmakers have accused Schiff of hypocrisy, Martin says in her letter that Schiff needs to be investigated for seeking “to obtain the incriminating photos and materials about the President of the United States.”

“Rep. Schiff has, through multiple actions and false statements, abused his power as both Ranking Member and now as Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence,” Martin said. “He has violated the Official Code of Conduct of the House of Representatives through a pattern of deception and misdeeds, demonstrating that he is unfit to continue to serve as Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.”

Fox News' Tyler Olson contributed to this report.