Republican Congressman Troy Nehls alleged that the U.S. Capitol Police have been weaponized against the GOP and have been spying on him.
Nehls claimed that last November, Capitol Police “entered [his] office without [his] knowledge and photographed confidential legislative products” on one occasion and that undercover agents entered later that same week, only this time dressed as construction workers, who then questioned a member of his staff.
As a result of that incident and others reported by Republican lawmakers, the Office of the U.S. Capitol Police Inspector’s General has opened an official investigation into whether or not Capitol Police have been spying on GOP lawmakers, and if so, why exactly they may be doing that.
The Capitol Police I.G. has reportedly opened a formal investigation into whether the law enforcement agency tasked with securing the Capitol has been inappropriately surveilling elected members of Congress, their staff, and visitors to their offices.
“The opening of the investigation follows news reports and accusations from lawmakers that USCP has overstepped its bounds as it tries to recover from the January 6 riots that tarnished both the Capitol and the reputation of the law enforcement agency that was supposed to keep it safe,” according to the Federalist.
Nehls tweeted that the Capitol Police may have gone after him because he has been “a vocal critic of @SpeakerPelosi, the @January6thCmte, and @CapitolPolice leadership about their handling of January 6th, the death of Ashli Babbitt and the subsequent SHAM investigation.”
For their part, Capitol Police denied Nehls’ assertions of wrongdoing via a statement from Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger:
This morning a U.S. Representative complained about one of our vigilant officers. Chief Manger stands by his officer.
“The United States Capitol Police is sworn to protect Members of Congress. If a Member’s office is left open and unsecured, without anyone inside the office, USCP officers are directed to document that and secure the office to ensure nobody can wander in and steal or do anything else nefarious. The weekend before Thanksgiving, one of our vigilant officers spotted the Congressman’s door was wide open. That Monday, USCP personnel personally followed up with the Congressman’s staff and determined no investigation or further action of any kind was needed. No case investigation was ever initiated or conducted into the Representative or his staff.” – U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger
The issue has become far too dangerous for Republicans to ignore – and now several lawmakers have signed a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Committee on House Administration Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, calling on them to investigate the reports of Capitol Police “monitoring” lawmakers and citizens.
Republican Rep. Andy Biggs, led the letter with 33 of his GOP colleagues to Pelosi and Lofgren regarding reports that Capitol Police have dug into the backgrounds of people who meet with lawmakers.
“Recent reports state that the Capitol Police are surveilling Members of Congress, Congressional staff, and their Capitol visitors,” Biggs said in a statement.
“If these reports are true, that the Capitol Police force is actively looking for and reviewing private information, then this is a gross violation of American civil liberties and an abuse of power,” he continued. “I’m calling on Speaker Pelosi and Chairwoman Lofgren to do what is best for the American people and look into this troubling report.”
The Republicans wrote that the report revealed the Capitol Police are also “monitoring the online activity of congressional staff and individuals who meet with Members of Congress” and that the force is “reviewing property tax information” to learn the owners of the buildings “where the meetings take place” as well as “reviewing online information to determine if any of the meeting attendees have contacts with foreign nationals.”
“Additionally, Capitol Police were directed to look for information on donors and staff ‘that would cast a member in a negative light,’” the letter reads.
“If true, these allegations are serious violations of Americans’ civil rights and civil liberties,” it continues. “Our constituents have the right to petition Congress and they should be able to exercise this right without fear that Capitol Police will scrutinize their property taxes, social media, or relationships.”