March 2, 2024
Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano is suing the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 assault on the U.S. Capitol.

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Republican Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano is suing the House special committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 assault on the U.S. Capitol. 

Mastriano, a state senator, filed a complaint in federal court Thursday challenging the legality of the panel’s ability to compel witnesses to sit for depositions. 

“Central to this issue is the fact that this committee lacks a ranking minority Member, or any members designated by the minority party,” the suit reads. “Although courts have previously held that, despite this defect, the committee has the power to issue subpoenas, no court has ever examined the issue of whether this particular committee is able to comply with the deposition regulations which explicitly require certain actions to be taken by the ranking minority member.” 

Mastriano’s lawyers assert that they are not questioning the legality of the committee or its ability issue subpoenas. Rather they say that without a ranking Republican member the committee’s cannot guarantee witnesses being deposed a fair hearing.

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State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, a Republican candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, speaks at a primary night election gathering in Chambersburg, Pa., Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, a Republican candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, speaks at a primary night election gathering in Chambersburg, Pa., Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP)

“Due to the secretive nature of deposition proceedings, the regulations rely upon the two-party system to create an adversarial proceeding to protect the substantive rights of witnesses in the absence of a judge or public scrutiny,” the suit reads. 

The suit names the committee, its nine members, and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California as defendants. Mastriano is asking that a court declare the Jan. 6 committee cannot compel him to sit for a deposition. 

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His lawyers are also requesting the committee pay his legal fees for the suit.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 09: The House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th hearing in the Cannon House Office Building on Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Washington, DC. The bipartisan Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack On the United States Capitol has spent nearly a year conducting more than 1,000 interviews, reviewed more than 140,000 documents day of the attack.

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 09: The House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th hearing in the Cannon House Office Building on Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Washington, DC. The bipartisan Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack On the United States Capitol has spent nearly a year conducting more than 1,000 interviews, reviewed more than 140,000 documents day of the attack. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Earlier this year Mastriano was subponead by the committee for documents and testimony relating to his efforts to have the 2020 election results in Pennsylvania decertified. The Republican nominee provided documents and offered to take part in a voluntary interview, but the committee insisted on a videotaped deposition. 

Mastriano’s attorneys say that since he is the GOP nominee for governor his testimony could be deceptively edited for campaign purposes. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks at a press conference.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks at a press conference. (Getty Images)

The House select committee investigating the January 6 incident has nine members, seven Democrats and two Republicans. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., attempted to appoint several other lawmakers to the panel last year, but his choices were rejected by Pelosi. In response, McCarthy refused to 

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“Speaker Pelosi has taken the unprecedented step of denying the minority party’s picks for the select committee on Jan. 6,” McCarthy said at a press conference last year when announcing Republicans would boycott serving on the committee. “This represents something that has not happened in the House before for a select committee, by the historian.”