Mastriano hit with Senate ethics complaint over role in ‘coup attempt’ and effort to overturn PA’s 2020 results

Micheal Fanone and State Sen. Art Haywood speaking before a press conference in the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, PA. on Jan. 2, 2024.

By Sean Kitchen

January 2, 2024

State Sen. Art Haywood renewed calls for accountability for State Sen. Doug Mastriano’s involvement in trying to overturn Pennsylvania’s 2020 election results and his actions leading up to Jan. 6, 2021. 

Pennsylvania State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin) was named in a Senate ethics complaint regarding his actions to undermine the commonwealth’s 2020 election results by fellow colleague State Sen. Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia).

“I’m asking the Pennsylvania State Senate to investigate the conduct of my colleague, Senator Doug Mastriano, in connection with his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in a coup attempt to keep Donald J. Trump in office,” Haywood told reporters at a press conference in the Pennsylvania State Capitol on Tuesday. 

The conservative demagogue rose to prominence in early 2020 by exploiting social media and spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. After he became a leader in the re-open movements, Mastriano used his social media platforms to spread misinformation about the 2020 election. 

“[Mastriano] used his prominence and reputation in the Senate and his office to conduct a bogus hearing at which advisors of the then-President, who are not under oath, provided testimony which proved later to be false,” Hayward continued. 

The complaint highlights Mastriano’s involvement in planning the Gettysburg hearing, his participation in the rally on Jan. 6, 2021 and his efforts to coerce, pressure and intimidate government officials to overturn Pennsylvania’s election results.

After the complaint is filed with the Senate, it will then be taken up by the Senate Ethics Committee if the Republican-controlled body chooses to do so. The committee would conduct an investigation into Mastriano’s actions and issue recommendations for the entire chamber to vote upon. They include reprimand, censure or expulsion. 

This Saturday marks three years since rioters stormed the US Capitol in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election results, and those like Mastriano, who were involved in the efforts to overturn state-level election results, have largely escaped accountability for their actions. 

Former Metropolitan Police Department officer Michael Fanone, who was attacked outside of the capitol with a stun gun on Jan. 6, 2021, was in Harrisburg to attend Tuesday’s press conference and speak to the media about the insurrection. 

“First and foremost, I think we need acknowledgement for what actually occurred that day and what inspired it,” Fanone said in an interview with reporters ahead of the press conference. 

“Second, I think we need accountability for those responsible, Not just the individuals that stormed the capitol that day, but those who pushed and peddled the lies that inspired those Americans to come to the capitol and commit acts of violence against law enforcement.”

Fanone called the lack of accountability for those like Mastriano “disheartening,” but went on to say “everyone needs to do everything that they can to preserve our democracy, not just elected officials.”

 “Each individual American is charged with the responsibility of preserving and defending democracy as we know it, and I think that this election cycle is going to be a real test as to whether or not Americans care about their democracy,” Fanone said. 

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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