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Attorney General Garland Testifies Before House Judiciary Committee

Source: Win McNamee / Getty

WASHINGTON — Congresswoman Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.-5th) was one of a handful of House lawmakers to question Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday.

Spartz’s line of questioning had to do with gun legislation and how the attorney general went about charging people involved with the January 6th Capitol Riot from 2021. Many people involved in the riot were charged with obstructing an official proceeding under the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002.

The Supreme Court is currently considering a legal challenge to that particular charge brought by a former police officer from Pennsylvania who was at the Capitol during the riots. Joseph Fischer’s legal argument to the high court is the law he was charged with violating was only intended to apply to evidence tampering involving a congressional inquiry or investigation.

The DOJ applied these charges to people involved in the riots because they “attempted to obstruct” the certification of the 2020 election by the U.S. Senate. Spartz delved into the legal definition of the law with Garland.

“How many Americans did you charge … with obstruction of justice and convicted,” asked Spartz.

“I don’t know the number, but it’s listed on the webpage…. “Garland replied.

“The title is ‘tampering with witness, victims, and informant’ is that correct? Do you agree with that,” Spartz continued.

“We can have a long discussion on that…”, Garland responded.

“No, it’s not a discussion, it’s just a fact. It was broad and ambiguous, but that is what was legislated,” Spartz interrupted.

Spartz is among those who believe the DOJ misapplied the Sarbanes–Oxley Act to the cases of people convicted for rioting at the U.S. Capitol. Garland reminded her that they are still waiting for a decision from the high court on the matter.

She asked Garland if they had a plan should the Supreme Court rule that the DOJ did in fact incorrectly apply the law. Garland replied that they would “follow the law that the Supreme Court tells us.”