Members of a proposed House subcommittee to investigate the “weaponization of the federal government” will have the authority to review ongoing criminal investigations if the new House rules package is approved on Jan. 9.
Proposed as a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, the panel’s sweeping powers were agreed to by Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as part of the deal that made him speaker of the House.
According to the resolution, committee members will dig into “the expansive role of Article II authority vested in the Executive Branch” to investigate American citizens—including ongoing criminal investigations—and the various ways executive branch agencies collect, use, and disseminate information about Americans.
The committee will also investigate how such agencies work with private and nonprofit sector entities and other government agencies to facilitate action against citizens, “including the extent, if any, to which illegal or improper, unconstitutional, or unethical activities were engaged in by the Executive Branch or private sector against citizens of the United States.”
The language of the resolution gives the panel access to any information shared with the House Intelligence Committee, which receives the highest level of classified intelligence of any committee in Congress.
However, a previous draft of the resolution (pdf) dated Jan. 2 outlined narrower parameters for the panel, indicating that they were broadened after days of negotiations between McCarthy and the 20 Republicans who initially opposed his speakership.
Most significantly, the initial draft limited the scope of the committee’s investigation to the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Justice, and made no mention of ongoing criminal investigations.
Confirming Friday that the committee was part of the speaker negotiations, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) told Fox News, “We got more resources, more specificity, more power to go after this recalcitrant Biden administration—that’s really important.”
Recent allegations of government agencies—including the FBI—working with social media platforms to censor the free speech of Americans are likely to be the primary target of the new Judiciary Committee probe, which is reportedly being modeled after the 1975 Senate Church Committee investigation into abuses by U.S. intelligence agencies and the Internal Revenue Service.
“McCarthy has said that he’s creating this Church Committee that’s going to investigate the FBI and the DOJ and all these things that were going on,” Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) told Just the News. “And it is illegal for a person in government to use their position to thwart [speech] for political purposes. And so, we’re going to get to the bottom of that.
“We’re going to bring these people in and depose them and do the type of things that a good Republican Congress and Judiciary Committee do, and this other committee that Speaker McCarthy is going to be able to appoint would be able to do these things,” he added.
The new committee will also reportedly delve into allegations from FBI whistleblowers and the Justice Department’s ongoing investigations into the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.
According to ABC News, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, slammed the creation of the committee as a “reckless partisan exercise fueled by conspiracy theories.”
“Jim Jordan and Kevin McCarthy claim to be investigating the weaponization of the federal government when, in fact, this new select committee is the weapon itself,” Nadler told the outlet in a statement. “It is specifically designed to inject extremist politics into our justice system and shield the MAGA movement from the legal consequences of their actions.”
The agreement establishing the committees was the product of an intense four-day battle between two factions of the House Republicans—those who supported McCarthy’s bid for speaker and those who opposed it.
Although McCarthy went into the speaker election with the backing of most of his conference, 20 holdouts—largely from the House’s staunchly conservative Freedom Caucus—required concessions from the California representative before they would allow him to take the gavel.
Chief among those concessions was the ability for one representative to call for a vote to oust the speaker at any given time.
But while Democrats and some Republicans expressed anger and frustration over the standoff, Jordan—a Freedom Caucus member who supported McCarthy from the start—said it was just evidence of a healthy democracy.
“Sometimes democracy is messy, but I would argue that’s exactly how the founders intended it,” he told “Fox News Sunday.” “They wanted real debate, real input from all people, and then you get a decision … What I do know is this: We will come together to deal with how radical the left now has made the Democrat Party.”
First, Republicans will need to pass the new rules package, for which they will need support from a majority of the House.
Jordan, however, was optimistic that the package would pass and that Republicans would be able to move forward with their planned investigations.
Related Story: In first action of new Congress, House passes rules package
“We have a duty to get into these agencies and look at how they have been weaponized to go against the very people they are supposed to represent, how they’ve infringed on First Amendment liberties of the American people, and we’re going to do that,” he said. “We’re going to do it in a way that’s consistent with the Constitution, but we’re going to do it vigorously, we’re going to do it aggressively, because that’s our job.”
The Epoch Times has reached out to Jordan’s office for comment.