Pennsylvania’s Republican Congressmen Call for AG, Secretary State To Recuse Themselves

Pennsylvania’s Republican Congressmen Call for AG, Secretary State To Recuse Themselves
Election workers count ballots in Philadelphia, Pa., on Nov. 4, 2020. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Isabel van Brugen

Pennsylvania GOP Congressional members have called on state Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar (D) to recuse themselves from future election-related investigations, citing concerns over their handling of the state’s 2020 presidential election.

In a letter Saturday, a group of Republican congressmen including Reps. Lloyd Smucker, Mike Kelly, Glenn Thompson, Guy Reschenthaler, Brian Fitzpatrick, Fred Keller, Scott Perry, Dan Meuser, and John Joyce said that they are “deeply concerned with how the Commonwealth has handled the general election.”

Among their concerns, the congressmen said, was that counties were provided with “last minute guidance” on the eve of Election Day on correcting ballots “which is in direct conflict with Pennsylvania election law.”

They argued that volunteer legal observers were prevented from having access to vote counting locations and accused Shapiro of “playing dual roles as a political candidate and legal arbiter with a vested personal interest.”

“We believe these conflicts and irregularities have greatly eroded public trust in the Commonwealth’s electoral system,” the congressmen argued.

The letter highlights prior statements made by the Pennsylvania’s Attorney General “including social media posts calling the outcome of the election, prior to the tabulation of a single vote.”

“If all the votes are added up in PA, Trump is going to lose,” Shapiro posted on Twitter prior to Election Day, before receiving widespread criticism.

He later defended the social media post in which he insisted Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will win.

“But let’s examine the record here. Donald Trump and his enablers have gone to court time and time again to limit voter participation,” he told CNN. “To, as I referred to, to subtract votes from the equation. And I think it is clear, if someone felt that they had a good shot at winning the election—and the polls are what they are, suggest that he’s not—if someone felt confident in their ability to win the election with a certified electorate, then why would they be going to court over and over and over again to try and subtract votes?”

The letter adds that Shapiro’s statements “are troubling and highlight the attorney general’s inability to maintain impartiality and to separate his sworn duties from his political desires.”

“We believe that due to this conflict, the attorney general must recuse himself from all future election proceedings and appoint an impartial designee moving forward.”

In a separate statement, Rep. Smucker called on both Shapiro and Boockvar to recuse themselves from election-related investigations, saying that “both have made highly partisan statements regarding President Trump.”

Boockvar started in 2015 to publicly disparage Trump on social media as he geared up for a presidential run. She shared links to stories critical of his campaign, such as one that claimed a Trump presidency would drive the United States into a lengthy recession.

Boockvar didn’t stop once Trump was elected. In 2017, for instance, she wrote: “Using the title ‘President’ before the word ‘Trump’ really demeans the office of the presidency.”

She defended her statements on Thursday, saying, “Look, these were four years ago, and at the time, I was not in the administration, I was not in any public service.”

“I was a private citizen, it was a personal Twitter account,” Boockvar told reporters.

Boockvar was appointed acting Pennsylvania secretary of state in 2019 and was confirmed by the state Senate in November of last year.

Trump’s campaign has knocked the official for her political positions, including after a Pennsylvania judge earlier Thursday ruled in its favor in a poll observer case.

Shapiro and Boockvar didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment by The Epoch Times.

The Pennsylvania congressional members concluded their letter by saying that as some issues will now be addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court, they remain “concerned about the integrity of the election and continued attempts by the administration and its officials to put their thumbs on the scale in pursuit of what they believe should be a preordained outcome.”

“These actions continue to chip away at the foundation of our representational democracy and challenges the citizens of Pennsylvania’s faith in their government. We implore you to put politics aside and provide these requests all due consideration,” they wrote.

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.