Resentful of the amount of time Democrats spent investigating former President Donald Trump's corruption scandals when they controlled the committees, the incoming House Republican majority has vowed to launch a volley of investigations of their own, on everything from how the Department of Homeland Security is securing the border, to whether the January 6 rioters accused of assaulting police officers were treated fairly in jail, to whether Hunter Biden may have profited from the White House the way Trump's children did for four years.
But on Wednesday, writing for The Bulwark, Joe Perticone reported that Democratic lawmakers are issuing House Republicans a stark warning: overreach with your investigatory powers, and it will blow up in your face.
"Democrats who spoke with The Bulwark said House Republicans’ stated oversight priorities are nakedly political, but won’t help the GOP’s future electoral efforts. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are poised to take the baton on what they consider critical investigations, such as that of the House January 6th Committee," wrote Perticone. "Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine told The Bulwark Senate Democrats could pick up the slack where these investigations have fallen off in the House. Whether they will need to do so depends on which route Republicans take over the next two years — a serious one, or a frivolous detour."
"I think if we do the work of a legislative body and produce some results, good confirmations, continue to produce bipartisan bills as we have, and the House is known for wacky investigations that aren’t really top of mind to anybody but an extreme view, that will show a real contrast between who the two parties are in ways that will not necessarily be harmful to us," Kaine added.
There is precedent for Republicans going too far with investigations. Throughout the 90s, House Republicans turned former President Bill Clinton's life upside down looking for evidence of various conspiracy theories about his financial deals, which ultimately led to them moving to impeach him for lying under oath about an extramarital affair. Republicans actually lost House seats in the midterm, just before impeachment began.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) is one of the few Republicans warning his colleagues their investigative priorities could hurt them, reported Perticone: "I think it’s really hard to know what the politics of a course of action might be in this day and age, to know where our party stands, what our base wants, what independent voters want. But I think you have to do what you think is right and I think the American people want us to tackle some of the big challenges we have — immigration, inflation, and so forth — and the other things that divert from those priorities I think are a waste of time.”