In response to tweeting the names of several Trump campaign donors within his district, House Republicans have now called for an ethics probe into Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), reports The Hill.
Earlier this week, following a horrific shooting at a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas, Castro publicly shared the names of Trump donors under his governance, alleging that they were helping to fund a campaign of hate and white supremacy.
“Sad to see so many San Antonians as 2019 maximum donors to Donald Trump — the owner of [redacted], owner of the [redacted], realtor [redacted], etc.,” wrote Castro’s tweet, which included a link to 44 donors. “Their contributions are fueling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as ‘invaders.'”
After both conservatives and some members of the liberal media criticized Castro for inciting harassment against Trump donors, House Republicans wrote a letter to House Ethics Committee Chairman Ted Deutch (D-FL) and ranking member Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX) asking to have Castro’s conduct investigated. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) spearheaded the letter, which was signed by GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz (FL), Jody Hice (GA), Debbie Lesko (AZ.), Jeff Duncan(S.C.), Randy Weber (TX) and Ted Budd (N.C.).
“Posting a target list of private citizens simply for supporting his political opponent is antithetical to our principles and serves to suppress the free speech and free association rights of Americans,” the letter read. “These acts must immediately be investigated to determine if Rep. Castro has violated the ethical rules of this institution.”
“By publishing a list of private citizens who donated to his political opponent, Rep. Castro sought to encourage harassment against those citizens simply on the basis of their political beliefs,” the letter continued. “It cannot be fairly argued that Rep. Castro had any other purpose in posting that list and telling his activist followers that those individuals were inciting hate. Whether he intended to provoke physical violence or merely verbal harassment, his intent was to chill the free speech and free association rights of Americans.”
Rep. Castro has since defended himself by noting that the information he shared was already public, and that he did not call for harassment.
“The information shared by Representative Castro is publicly available through the Federal Election Commission and the kind that’s routinely reported in media outlets of every political persuasion,” Castro spokeswoman Katherine Schneider said. “Their letter is a disingenuous attempt by pro-dark money, far-right legislators to limit Americans’ ability to track money in politics. They would prefer large contributions to be kept secret so that there’s no meaningful transparency in political giving. We look forward to hearing from the Committee if the request is considered.”
2020 presidential candidate Julian Castro has defended his brother’s behavior on the same grounds while denouncing harassment against Trump supporters.
“My brother put out a list of names of people who had maxed out to the Trump campaign. That is public information. That information is put out all the time, and for anybody to pretend or suggest that it’s not, that’s just untrue,” Julian told reporters. “Let me also be clear: He did not put down anybody’s private information; he did not put down their addresses; he did not put down their phone numbers. What he did is not doxxing; anybody who understands what doxxing is knows that tha’’s what — he did not do that, all right? What he did was he put forward publicly available information that was already out there.”