Sen. Cory Gardner, who leads Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, said Monday the Senate should vote to expel Roy Moore if he wins the Alabama Senate race.
“If he refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should vote to expel him, because he does not meet the ethical and moral requirements of the United States Senate,” the Colorado Republican said in a statement Monday afternoon.
Gardner chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is charged with electing Republicans to the Senate. The committee cut ties with the Moore campaign following a Washington Post report where four women accused Moore of sexual and romantic advances while they were teenagers and Moore was in his thirties.
Another accuser came forward Monday afternoon, alleging Moore sexually assaulted her while she was a teenager.
“I believe the individuals speaking out against Roy Moore spoke with courage and truth, proving he is unfit to serve in the United States Senate and he should not run for office,” Gardner said.
If Moore is elected to the Senate on Dec. 12, he would be allowed be seated in the Senate, since senators likely could not challenge that Moore met the constitutional requirements for service.
But senators could opt to expel him from the chamber. One legal expert suggested that process would likely go through regular order, meaning the Senate Ethics Committee would conduct an investigation, a hearing, and put forth a recommendation. Two-thirds of senators would have to vote to expel Moore.
Robert Walker, former chief counsel and staff director of the Senate and House ethics committees, said the Ethics Committee could still investigate the allegations, even though they occurred long before Moore was a Senate candidate.
“The ethics committee has come up on this issue before. And they have left the question open,” said Walker, now an attorney at Wiley Rein.
Walker pointed to a May 2008 decision by the committee not to pursue allegations that Sen. David Vitter, R-La. had solicited prostitutes before he was elected to the Senate. In the letter, the committee said it “should not” pursue the Vitter case, even though it could. The committee also reserved the right to re-open the investigation.
Walker suggested an Ethics Committee investigation into the Moore allegations would be expedited, but could still take weeks and even months.
Gardner was also one of the Republicans who withdrew support for President Donald Trump after a tape revealed the then-GOP nominee bragging about grabbing women’s genitals.