A government watchdog group known as the Campaign for Accountability has requested a federal investigation from the Senate Ethics Committee into Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) over an incident where she flashed her identification as a member of Congress at a police officer during a traffic stop. Michelle Kuppersmith, who serves as the Campaign for Accountability’s executive director, “accused Blackburn of violating Senate rules prohibiting favorable treatment for lawmakers by law enforcement,” as summarized by Forbes.
NEW: An ethics watchdog is requesting the Senate Ethics Committee investigate an incident last month in which GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn reportedly flashed her congressional pin during a police stop. https://t.co/pCyaz4nEiS
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) April 9, 2021
The original incident apparently took place last month, when Blackburn was a passenger in a car that was pulled over by a Capitol Police officer. During the stop, Blackburn showed her pin ID’ing her as a member of Congress, abruptly got back into the car, and told the driver to “drive.” Blackburn’s office has claimed that she showed her pin because the officer on-scene had asked for identification, but Kuppersmith noted that traffic stops largely focus on drivers rather than passengers. Thus, insisting that the officer asked for Blackburn’s identification seems tenuous.
Apparently, according to a Blackburn aide, the officer “didn’t say a word, just shook his head,” and the Capitol Police have said that they do not have record of the interaction in question. The Senate Ethics Committee, as Kuppersmith noted in her request for an investigation, has dealt with similar issues in the past. The panel condemned now ex-Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) after he showed a business card identifying him as a member of Congress during an arrest for soliciting sex from an undercover officer. In the aftermath of the incident, the committee denounced Craig’s attempt to “receive special and favorable treatment” based on his Senatorial role.
Capitol Police have dealt with serious issues over the last few months, from the Capitol rioting in January to a more recent car ramming attack in which the assailant, who was subsequently shot and killed, purposefully hit officers with his car. One of those officers died.