AP

Voters challenge Greene’s eligibility to run for reelection

Mar 23, 2022, 9:16 PM | Updated: Mar 24, 2022, 9:51 am

FILE - Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks during a rally, Saturday, March 5, 2022, in Rome, Ga. A g...

FILE - Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks during a rally, Saturday, March 5, 2022, in Rome, Ga. A group of Georgia voters is challenging Greene’s eligibility to run for reelection, saying she helped facilitate the riot that disrupted Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s presidential election victory. The challenge filed Thursday, March 24, with the Georgia secretary of state’s office says it’s being brought by a group of registered voters in Greene’s congressional district. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)

(AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)

ATLANTA (AP) — A group of Georgia voters is challenging U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s eligibility to run for reelection, saying she helped facilitate the riot that disrupted Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.

The challenge filed Thursday with the Georgia secretary of state’s office says it’s being brought by a group of registered voters in Greene’s congressional district. It alleges that Green, a Republican, is ineligible under the 14th Amendment, saying that “before, on, and after January 6, 2021, Greene voluntarily aided and engaged in an insurrection to obstruct the peaceful transfer of presidential power, disqualifying her from serving as a Member of Congress.”

The 14th Amendment says no one can serve in Congress “who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress . . . to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same.” Ratified shortly after the Civil War, it was meant in part to keep representatives who had fought for the Confederacy from returning to Congress.

Greene forcefully rejected the challenge in an emailed statement, saying she’s being targeted because she’s “effective and will not bow to the DC machine.”

“I’ve never encouraged political violence and never will,” she said.

The voters are represented by Free Speech for People, a national election and campaign finance reform group, which has filed a similar challenge against U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn in North Carolina that has been blocked by a federal judge.

But a federal appeals court last week opened up the possibility for voters challenging Cawthorn’s candidacy to participate in a lawsuit the Republican congressman filed against state election officials and make their own legal arguments about why his Jan. 6 activities should be scrutinized.

In Indiana, the state election commission last month rejected an attempt to remove Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Banks from the ballot after a long-shot Democratic challenger alleged Banks violated the Constitution by supporting the Capitol insurrection. An attorney for Banks argued the allegations were baseless.

The Georgia complaint cites tweets and statements made by Greene before, during and since the riot. It says she either helped plan the riot or helped plan the demonstration held before the riot and/or the march on the Capitol, knowing that it was “substantially likely to lead to the attack, and otherwise voluntarily aided the insurrection.”

“While private citizens discussing the overthrow of the government over a few beers does not amount to engaging in insurrection, when a Member of Congress publicly encourages her supporters to engage in insurrection, as the evidence shows Greene did, she has provided ‘useful’ support to the insurrection and therefore engaged in insurrection,” the complaint says.

Georgia law says any voter who is eligible to vote for a candidate may challenge that candidate’s qualifications by filing a written complaint within two weeks after the deadline for qualifying, which was March 11. The secretary of state must then notify the candidate of the challenge and request a hearing before an administrative law judge. After holding a hearing, the administrative law judge presents findings to the secretary of state, who then must determine whether the candidate is qualified.

Free Speech for People said in a news release that the challengers intend to issue subpoenas to Greene and take her deposition under oath as part of the process.

___

Associated Press writer Gary D. Robertson in Raleigh, North Carolina, contributed to this report.

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