Vote to remove Scott Perry, a stain on our democracy

York Dispatch editorial board

There are many reasons not to vote for Rep. Scott Perry on Tuesday, but let's focus on the biggest one:

Early on Jan. 7, 2021, hours after the riotous and deadly assault on the halls of the U.S. Capitol, the Carroll Township lawmaker stood in the same building and attempted to disenfranchise every Pennsylvanian.

We know now that Perry was one of the Republicans who had been fighting behind the scenes after the election to overturn the will of the American voters and keep Donald Trump in office by touting false claims of fraud and baseless conspiracy theories.

He connected Trump with a relatively minor Justice Department official, fellow conspiracy theorist Jeffery Clark, who was willing to push the president’s fictional narrative of a stolen election. When Trump moved to fire Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to make room for Clark, the top tier of the Justice Department threatened to resign en masse.

FILE - Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., takes a question from a reporter at a news conference held by the House Freedom Caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Aug. 23, 2021. The committee investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection has requested an interview with Perry. The Republican lawmaker is the first sitting member of Congress the panel has requested to speak with.  (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades, File)

Perry also signed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court to overturn Joe Biden's victory in certain states and forwarded false claims of election fraud to various states' attorneys general.

When none of that worked, when Trump at last sent his "very special" insurrectionists away, when the Capitol was cleared and the vice president — whom the traitorous mob had threatened to hang — and members of Congress came back to the House chamber to finish their job, Perry gave it one more go, offering a motion that Pennsylvania's 20 Electoral College votes not be counted.

There was never any hint that the election was anything but aboveboard.

Countless courts by then had ruled in the countless lawsuits that Trump's legions had filed that the election was fair and there was no evidence of any widespread fraud. Trump's own director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency called the 2020 election "the most secure in American history." 

In this image from video, Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., speaks as the House debates the objection to confirm the Electoral College vote from Pennsylvania, at the U.S. Capitol early Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. (House Television via AP)

It's impossible to believe Perry didn't know his claims were false. In fact, former Trump White House aides testified before the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol that Perry was among a group of Republican lawmakers who sought pre-emptive pardons from the former president for their efforts.

He issued a statement denying the claim but ignored a subpoena to testify before the bipartisan committee, when he surely would have had an opportunity to make that denial under oath.

Of course, the committee would have had plenty of other questions for the five-term congressman, whose cellphone was seized under warrant Aug. 9 by the FBI as Perry vacationed with his family in New Jersey. (The York Dispatch is among a group of media outlets that filed a lawsuit Sept. 29 to have judicial records in the Perry investigation unsealed, including the warrant, the warrant application, affidavits and other related documents.)

After all, he's one of only a handful of members of Congress named in a report from the Senate Judiciary Committee detailing Trump's attempts to remain in power — and the only one singled out in the report for further investigation into his actions to pressure the Department of Justice to overturn the results of the election (along with state Sen. Doug Mastriano).

We agree Perry's actions scream for further investigation.

In the meantime, Pennsylvania's 10th Congressional District has had enough of him.

Vote for Shamaine Daniels and remove this stain on American democracy from office.