An Indiana Republican who was rejected from the House select committee is apparently conducting a shadow investigation of the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) was one of two GOP congressman rejected by House speaker Nancy Pelosi for the select committee, but he has been sending letters to federal agencies and social media companies identifying himself as the "ranking member" on the panel, and The Daily Beast has obtained one of those letters.
"You are receiving this letter because the House of Representatives Select Committee to Investigate the events of January 6th may have sent you a request for information," Banks wrote in the letter to Interior Department secretary Deb Haaland, dated Sept. 16. "The House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy appointed me to serve as the Ranking Member of the Select Committee. Yet, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to allow me to fulfill my duties as Ranking Member."
Banks argued that the minority party, under House rules, enjoys the same access to information as the majority party.
"For those reasons, I ask that you provide me any information that is submitted to the Select Committee," he wrote. "Additionally, please include me on any update or briefing that you provide."
The D.C. Circuit of Appeals ruled last year that minority members of a congressional committee can sue to obtain information from executive agencies, but that doesn't guarantee that lawmakers would win those lawsuits, and it's not even clear whether Banks has standing to make such a claim because he's not on the committee -- which already has two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).
Banks' shadow investigation came to light as the select committee voted to hold Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for ignoring the panel's subpoena, which the House approved in a subsequent vote, and Cheney cited the letters in a floor speech.
He was nominated to the select committee by House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), along with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), but Pelosi rejected both GOP lawmakers because they had voted against certifying President Joe Biden's election win on the day of the insurrection.