– A group of Senate Republicans is today demanding an explanation from the
Justice Department and FBI for the abnormal and aggressive dawn raid on the home
of a pro-life advocate in Pennsylvania last week. The senators include members
of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has legislative and oversight jurisdiction
over the Justice Department, and one of the advocate’s home-state senators.
than two dozen federal agents, some using ballistics shields and long guns,
arrived to arrest the pro-life advocate on Friday, September 23, for an
incident that occurred nearly a year prior and for which local authorities
dismissed all charges. The show-of-force raid by the FBI followed multiple
overtures about cooperation by the advocate’s attorneys to the federal prosecutor’s
office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which went unanswered over the
course of weeks.
“Based on reports
and allegations, the actions taken by the FBI reasonably call into question
whether they complied with DOJ’s use of force policy. The FBI must explain their justification for
their actions…,” the senators wrote.
simple arrest warrant can be served by a pair or small number of agents, and are
often eschewed in favor of a court summons in cases involving non-violent
offenders. The use of such significant manpower and resources, stands in stark
contrast to the apparent lack of response to the series of violent attacks
on crisis pregnancy centers
across the country.
the significant delay in taking action more than 11 months after the alleged
incident raises questions about the motivation for pursuing charges, especially
after local authorities declined to arrest or press charges contemporaneously.
extraordinary fact pattern requires additional information from the Justice
Department and the FBI relating to why Mr. Houck was not allowed to self-report
for his arrest and arraignment and whether political considerations were made
to approve and execute the search warrant,” the senators continued.
letter from senators to Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Chris
Wray was led by Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and
signed by committee members Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Cornyn
(R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Josh Hawley
(R-Mo.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.),
Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) as well as home-state Senator Pat Toomey (R-Penn.).
text of the letter can be found HERE.