A Democratic watchdog group has filed an ethics complaint against Rep. James Comer (R-Ky) for falsely claiming on Fox News that he phoned into an interview of Hunter Biden’s former business associate last month.
The Congressional Integrity Project alleges that Comer, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, “violated his ethical obligations” by telling Fox News he was “on the phone” during Biden associate Devon Archer’s high-profile interview with the committee. The ethics complaint was first obtained by The Messenger.
Comer’s absence during the interview with Archer, Hunter Biden’s former business partner, was earlier reported by The Daily Beast.
The Oversight chairman, who was in Kentucky during the interview, faced sharp backlash for claiming he was on the phone listening in to the interview. Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY), who was the only Democratic lawmaker in the room for Archer’s interview, said Comer was not on the phone.
“Chairman Comer was neither present nor on the phone for the Devon Archer interview,” Goldman said on social media. A source with direct knowledge of the Archer interview confirmed to The Messenger that Comer never identified himself for the record during the meeting, which is reflected in the public transcript.
The ethics complaint calls for the Office of Congressional Ethics to “immediately” open an investigation into Comer, a top GOP critic of President Joe Biden who has led the way on Republican investigations into the president.
The three lawmakers present for the meeting were Goldman and Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Oh) and Andy Biggs (R-Az).
The watchdog group said the claim by Comer that he was on the phone was “an apparent attempt to appear more informed than he was.”
Comer did not address whether he misrepresented the truth about saying he phoned into the interview.
A House Oversight Committee spokesperson told The Messenger that “Democrat dark money groups are attempting to distract from the fact that then-Vice President Joe Biden allowed his family to sell him as ‘the brand’ to corrupt foreign oligarchs around the world so ‘people would be intimidated to mess with them.’”
“If this Democrat dark money group truly cared about ethics, it would file complaints against President Biden for betraying the public’s trust for his family’s financial gain,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson did not clarify whether Comer was on the phone during the interview, but said he was in “constant contact” by phone with staff during the interview since he was in his district in Kentucky.
The complaint also dings the Oversight chairman for arguing that Archer’s testimony made a bribery allegation against the Bidens “more credible.” Comer doubled down on the bribery theory in another Fox News interview following the Archer interview.
Archer was touted by Republicans who have been investigating the Biden family as their bombshell witness who could reveal evidence of potentially impeachable offenses against President Biden. Archer told lawmakers that Hunter Biden dealt on the Biden “brand” when engaging in overseas business, but drew no direct link between the president and his son’s dealings.
The bribery claim alleges that the Bidens were paid millions of dollars by Burisma, the Ukrainian energy firm for which Hunter Biden served as a board member, to advocate for the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor, Victor Shokin, who was investigating the company.
But Archer poured cold water on that theory.
Archer told lawmakers he heard that Shokin was “under control” and Burisma was likely to get off with a “slap on the wrist.” Firing Shokin and replacing him with a new investigator could be bad for Burisma, Archer told lawmakers in his interview.
“Archer’s testimony makes clear: Hunter Biden was under pressure while serving on the Burisma board, but prosecutor Shokin was not the cause of that pressure,” the complaint said. “This argument only serves one purpose: furthering a bribery allegation not grounded in fact.”
Congressional Integrity Project Executive Director Kyle Herrig said in a statement to The Messenger that Comer has “a history of lying about the results of his investigations into President Biden.”
“His most recent falsehood was disproved by the same interview of Devon Archer he’s been touting, and must be investigated,” the group's executive director said. “Comer must be held accountable for his history of obfuscation and lies.”
Written by Stephen Neukam. Cross-posted from The Messenger.