January 6th marked the first time Congress’s constitutionally-mandated vote to enable the peaceful transfer of power was delayed by violence. As former senior national security experts from administrations of both parties have explained, the domestic terrorist attack was the result of a wide-ranging set of factors, including “disinformation campaigns, nontransparent financing of extremist networks, potential foreign influences, and white supremacist violent extremism.” A comprehensive inquiry is critical to understanding how these threats culminated in an assault on the very infrastructure of our democracy and how to effectively address them.
Protect Democracy, together with partner organizations, has called for several measures to ensure that the select committee’s work is maximally effective. Given the breadth and complexity of issues involved, the committee will require resources comparable to past inquiries, such as those made available for Iran-Contra and 9/11; substantial and diverse professional staffing; mechanisms to draw on specialized external expertise; and tools to effectively enforce compliance with its subpoenas. It will not be enough only to establish an investigative committee. The House must also set the committee up for success.
From the Civil War and Pearl Harbor to Iran-Contra and September 11th, the House has established select committees to thoroughly investigate assaults on our democratic institutions. In the wake of a grievous strike at the very heart of our democracy, members of the House must vote to do so once again.