A legal watchdog asked the Senate ethics committee Wednesday to open an investigation into Sen. Cory Booker after he released confidential documents during Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing last week.
Judicial Watch, the conservative watchdog, said Mr. Booker’s release violates Senate rules against disclosing “secret or confidential business or proceedings.”
“Senator Booker, in an absurd invocation of ‘Spartacus,’ explicitly invited his expulsion from the Senate in his egregious violation of the rules and contempt for the rule of law and the Constitution,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. “Will the Senate assert the rule of law in the Booker case or allow mob rule to be the new standard?”
Mr. Booker claimed to be “Spartacus” last week as he released the documents, which had been turned over from President George W. Bush’s presidential library to the Senate Judiciary Committee on condition they be limited to senators’ eyes.
The documents he released touched on a variety of topics, including racial profiling, affirmative action, school busing, secular funding for religious programs, and the selection of specific judicial nominees for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
None of them appeared particularly controversial, either for purposes of secrecy or as damaging the judge’s chances of confirmation to the Supreme Court.
Senate Republicans at the time warned Mr. Booker he could face punishment, including possible expulsion from the Senate, if he went through with the release. He said he was aware of the potential punishment but called his move an act of civil disobedience.
Republicans said Mr. Booker was trying to gain attention as a potential 2020 White House candidate.
A spokesperson from the ethics committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Mr. Booker’s office also did not immediately respond.
Some of the documents Mr. Booker first released last week were actually cleared by the committee, but others were classified as confidential.
A spokesperson from the ethics committee did not respond to a request for comment.
Some of the documents Mr. Booker first released last week were actually cleared by the committee at the time he posted them online. But others were classified as confidential.
Mr. Booker remained defiant Wednesday, vowing to release still more confidential documents.
“No effort to intimidate me into silence will keep me from doing my moral and constitutional duty,” he said.
He said the documents marked “committee confidential” don’t raise any national security concerns.