Ethics Complaint Filed Against Kevin McCarthy

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) is accusing former Speaker Kevin McCarthy of elbowing him in the kidney. Burchett seems to think it has to do with McCarthy holding a grudge against Burchett for being one of the eight House Republicans who voted to oust him as speaker.


Burchett said that he was being interviewed by an NPR reporter in a hallway and McCarthy walked by and deliberately elbowed him strong enough to make him lurch forward toward the reporter. Burchett said in an on-camera interview on the Capitol Hill outdoor steps afterward that McCarthy took a “cheap shot from behind.”

“You don’t expect that sort of thing from an adult, certainly not one who was once third in line for the White House,” Burchett said.

Burchett told reporters that McCarthy’s actions seemed “deliberate.”

“I’ll take a polygraph test. And have Kevin take a polygraph test,” he said. “It was deliberate. It was just a cheap shot by a bully.”

Burchett said he didn’t plan on taking further action against McCarthy> He thinks McCarthy will probably “cash in” after Christmas.

“I don’t think it’s OK. These ethics complaints go on for years, and he’s going to be out of here after Christmas. Like I said, he has $17 million and a security detail, and he’ll still be a bully.”

“It’s just like it’s always been. We’re not having duels out here,” Burchett said when asked what the incident might say about the state of Congress. “They’ve had duels in the past and fistfights and everything else. It’s just human nature.”


Burchett said that he prays for McCarthy and hopes he finds happiness in his life.

He said he chased after McCarthy but McCarthy denied intentionally elbowing him.

“This ain’t no big deal,” Burchett said when asked if he was hurt. “It’s just a little different from the way people react in Tennessee than the way they do in California. In Tennessee, if you have a problem with somebody, you take it to them and deal with it face to face. I guess in southern California, where he’s from, you take a cheap shot at somebody from behind.”

He may say it wasn’t a big deal but he ran straight to the press with his story. Did he do that because an NPR reporter saw the incident? Maybe. NPR correspondent Claudia Grisales has posted a thread on X about the alleged assault.


Burchett may not want to file an ethics complaint against McCarthy but his fellow member of the Gang of 8 who ousted McCarthy did it for him. Matt Gaetz filed an ethics complaint against McCarthy claiming assault against Burchett.

“It has come to my attention that this morning, November 14, 2023, following a meeting of the House Republican Conference, Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) assaulted Representative Tim Burchett (R-TN) in the hallways of Capitol complex. This assault was witnessed by numerous people, including Claudia Griseles of NPR, who was interviewing Rep. Burchett at the time. For his part, Rep. Burchett has described the attack as a ‘sucker punch’ and ‘a clean shot to the kidney.’ This incident deserves immediate and swift investigation by the Ethics Committee,” Gaetz wrote in the formal ethics complaint.

“This Congress has seen a substantial increase in breaches of decorum unlike anything we have seen since the pre-Civil War era. I myself have been a victim of outrageous conduct on the House floor as well, but nothing like an open and public assault on a Member, committed by another Member. The rot starts at the top. While Rep. Burchett is within his rights to decline to press charges against Rep. McCarthy, your Committee does have a duty to investigate breaches of the binding Code of Official Conduct, whose first rule is that ‘A Member… shall behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.’ There is substantial evidence that Rep. McCarthy breached this duty,” he continued.

“Given Rep. Burchett’s comments on the matter, and the statements of public witnesses, I request the House Committee on Ethics to proceed immediately with an investigation into the facts of today’s incident, including interviewing, under oath, the alleged assailant and assailee, and any witnesses,” Gaetz added.


Leave it to Gaetz to grab the microphone.

Congress is so off the rails lately that Bernie Sanders was the voice of reason in a Senate hearing Tuesday. We are living in crazy times.

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