Lawmaker Calls on Capitol Police to Release Tapes After 'False' Allegation by Jan. 6 Panel

Lawmaker Calls on Capitol Police to Release Tapes After 'False' Allegation by Jan. 6 Panel
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) speaks to members of the media at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on March 13, 2020. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Joseph Lord

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), ranking Republican member of the House Administration Committee, is calling on the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) to release security footage tapes from Jan. 5, 2021, after the chamber's Jan. 6 panel made "demonstrably false" allegations against another House Republican.

Davis cited "recent press reports, [that] the partisan January 6th Select Committee has falsely accused Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) ... of leading so-called reconnaissance tours of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 5, 2021," in a letter to the USCP.

This charge "is demonstrably false," Davis wrote. "As you are aware, [Administration] Committee Minority staff have reviewed all footage in question and have confirmed no 'reconnaissance tours' occurred."

Davis rejected claims that the tapes he requested would pose a security risk if released to the public, noting that the same tapes have already been made public in some capacity.

"Any argument that this footage represents sensitive 'security information' was destroyed once the Board provided copies to Democrat impeachment managers for public dissemination or it otherwise became available to the public," he wrote.

"If the Board has any hope of preserving a reputation as an unbiased security agency and re-establishing itself as a non-partisan entity, there is no alternative but to release the tapes. If the Board does not release the relevant footage in a timely manner, I will have no choice but to exercise my authority under 2 U.S.C. § 1979 to release the footage myself."

The Jan. 6 panel originally leveled the accusation against Loudermilk in a May 19 letter requesting his "voluntary cooperation in advancing our investigation" (pdf).

"We believe you have information regarding a tour you led through parts of the Capitol complex on Jan. 5, 2021," the letter said.

"The foregoing information raises questions to which the Select Committee must seek answers. Public reporting and witness accounts indicate some individuals and groups engaged in efforts to gather information about the layout of the U.S. Capitol, as well as the House and Senate office buildings, in advance of January 6, 2021. For example, in the week following January 6th, Members urged law enforcement leaders to investigate sightings of 'outside groups in the complex' on January 5th that 'appeared to be associated with the rally at the White House the following day.'"

However, GOP members of the House Administration Committee have refuted the claim, saying that their own review of the tapes inside the Capitol on Jan. 5, 2021, showed that no tours had been given—a claim that Davis appears confident enough to back up with a public release of the tapes in question.

The Jan. 6 panel, for its part, has made the opposite assertion, saying that "the Select Committee’s review of evidence directly contradicts that denial."

In a response to the letter, Loudermilk said that he had met with "a constituent family with young children" in House Office buildings that day, and blasted the Jan. 6 panel as a "political circus."

On May 21, former President Donald Trump—whose backing continues to hold heavy weight among GOP voters—gave Loudermilk his primary endorsement, calling Loudermilk "a fantastic Representative for the incredible people of Georgia’s 11th Congressional District."

The USCP and the Jan. 6 panel didn't respond by press time to a request for comment on Davis's comments.