Democratic State Sen. Art Haywood has called for a Pennsylvania Senate investigation into former Republican gubernatorial candidate State Sen. Doug Mastriano’s actions and statements regarding the 2020 election results.
Haywood, representing Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, announced his intention to file a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee this week.
The Democrat accused Mastriano, of Franklin County and a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, of using his position to promote baseless theories about the election.
In November 2020, Mastriano held a controversial hearing in Gettysburg with Rudy Giuliani, then an attorney for Trump, to explore discredited claims about the election. Haywood criticized this hearing as a “bogus” event, alleging that Mastriano used his state government position to spread misinformation.
Mastriano was present at the U.S. Capitol grounds during the January 6, 2021 attack following a rally in support of Trump. Although a video emerged showing Mastriano crossing police lines, he has maintained that he did not enter the Capitol building with the attackers.
Haywood included allegations that Mastriano appeared at rallies to spread false information and exerted pressure on government officials to overturn the election results.
Haywood worked with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a left-leaning nonprofit watchdog group focused on federal government. The organization was founded in 2003.
Mastriano, who lost the 2022 gubernatorial race to Gov. Josh Shapiro by nearly 15 points, has previously faced push back over statements about the 2020 election, being on the U.S. Capitol grounds around the time of the January 6, 2021 attack, his embrace of aspects and supporters of the violent Qanon conspiracy, a campaign consultant who made anti-Semitic statements, and other controversies.
In response, Mastriano denounced the complaint as a “stunt” intended to intimidate and silence him. He also released a video on his Facebook page, dismissing the complaint as a mere distraction cooked up by Democrats who don’t like him.
The Senate Ethics Committee is equally composed of members from both parties. They are tasked with investigating complaints. If found in violation, Mastriano could face consequences ranging from reprimand to expulsion.
Supporting Haywood’s call for accountability, former Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officer Michael Fanone, who was attacked during the Capitol attack, joined Haywood at a press conference on Tuesday. Fanone emphasized the need for responsibility not only for the rioters but also for those who incited the violence through misinformation.
Multiple audits and analyses confirmed the accuracy of the 2020 election results, contradicting the past claims made by Mastriano and others. Biden was sworn in as president on January 20, 2021.