News & Politics

Rep. Gaetz Files Ethics Charges Against Pelosi, Saying She Broke the Law with Her SOTU Stunt

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., holds up a copy of President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress that she tore up on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. At left Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

On Wednesday evening, Republican congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida announced that he is filing an ethics complaint against Nancy Pelosi for her disgraceful stunt after President Trump finished his State of the Union address.

“I’m filing an ethics complaint against @SpeakerPelosi for destroying @realDonaldTrump’s State of the Union speech,”  he wrote on Twitter.

According to Gaetz, Nancy’s behavior was a potential violation of 18 USC 2071.

Here’s what the law states;

§2071. Concealment, removal, or mutilation generally
(a) Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

(b) Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States. As used in this subsection, the term “office” does not include the office held by any person as a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the United States.

“There is no question that Speaker Pelosi ‘mutilated, obliterated, or destroyed’ the copy of the President’s address provided to her at the beginning of the evening,” Gaetz wrote in his letter to the Ethics Committee. “Accordingly, after the House Committee on Ethics thoroughly investigates this matter and recommends Speaker Pelosi’s censure, I urge you to make all appropriate referrals to the Department of Justice for further investigation and prosecution.”

It goes without saying that it is highly unlikely the Democrat-controlled House will censure Pelosi, or refer a criminal case against her to the Justice Department. But, then again, Nancy has said repeatedly during the impeachment process that nobody is “above the law.”


Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis