Washington, DC -- Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) today led over 30 Members of Congress in requesting an investigation from the Acting House Sergeant at Arms, Acting Senate Sergeant at Arms, and United States Capitol Police into the suspicious behavior and access given to visitors to the Capitol Complex on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 - the day before the attacks on the Capitol.

“Many of the Members who signed this letter, including those of us who have served in the military and are trained to recognize suspicious activity, as well as various members of our staff, witnessed an extremely high number of outside groups in the complex on Tuesday, January 5,” wrote the Members. “This is unusual for several reasons, including the fact that access to the Capitol Complex has been restricted since public tours ended in March of last year due to the pandemic.

“The tours being conducted on Tuesday, January 5, were a noticeable and concerning departure from the procedures in place as of March 2020 that limited the number of visitors to the Capitol. These tours were so concerning that they were reported to the Sergeant at Arms on January 5.”

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The letter was signed by: Katherine Clarke (MA-5), Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6), Daniel T. Kildee (MI-5), Abigail D. Spanberger (VA-7), Grace Meng (NY-6), Tom Malinowski (NJ-7), Pramila Jayapal (WA-7), Jahana Hayes (CT-5), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Ted W. Lieu (CA-33), Ann McLane Kuster (NH-2), Michael F. Doyle, Jr. (PA-18), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-5), Dean Phillips (MN-3), Jared Huffman (CA-2), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Sara Jacobs (CA-53), Elaine G. Luria (VA-2), Mike Levin (CA-49), Norma J. Torres (CA-35), Susan Wild (PA-7), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-7), Kathleen M. Rice (NY-04), Nikema Williams (GA-5), André Carson (IN-7), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-9), Marie Newman (IL-3), Albio Sires (NJ-8), Marilyn Strickland (WA-10), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE).

The full text of the letter can be found here:

The Honorable Timothy Blodgett                                          

Acting House Sergeant at Arms                                            

Room H-124 U.S. Capitol                  

Washington, DC 20510

 

The Honorable Jennifer A. Hemmingway

Acting Senate Sergeant at Arms

Room S-151 U.S. Capitol

Washington, DC 20510

 

Yogananda Pittman

Acting Chief

United States Capitol Police

119 D Street, NE

Washington, DC 20510

 

Dear Mr. Blodgett, Ms. Hemmingway, and Acting Chief Pittman:

We write today to request an immediate investigation into the suspicious behavior and access given to visitors to the Capitol Complex on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 - the day before the attacks on the Capitol.

Many of the Members who signed this letter, including those of us who have served in the military and are trained to recognize suspicious activity, as well as various members of our staff, witnessed an extremely high number of outside groups in the complex on Tuesday, January 5. This is unusual for several reasons, including the fact that access to the Capitol Complex has been restricted since public tours ended in March of last year due to the pandemic.

The tours being conducted on Tuesday, January 5, were a noticeable and concerning departure from the procedures in place as of March 2020 that limited the number of visitors to the Capitol. These tours were so concerning that they were reported to the Sergeant at Arms on January 5.

The visitors encountered by some of the Members of Congress on this letter appeared to be associated with the rally at the White House the following day. That group left the White House and marched to the Capitol with the objective of preventing Congress from certifying our election. Members of the group that attacked the Capitol seemed to have an unusually detailed knowledge of the layout of the Capitol Complex. The presence of these groups within the Capitol Complex was indeed suspicious.  Given the events of January 6, the ties between these groups inside the Capitol Complex and the attacks on the Capitol need to be investigated.

It is important that we feel safe in the halls of Congress, and we applaud the Sergeant at Arms (SAA) and U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) for their efforts. But the fact remains that there were unusually large groups of people throughout the Capitol who could only have gained access to the Capitol Complex from a Member of Congress or a member of their staff.

To that end, please provide answers to the following questions:

  • Are logbooks of Capitol Complex visitors inspected regularly and collected in any type of database?
    • Do additional law enforcement agencies have access to that database?
    • Does SAA/USCP track visitors by Member?
    • Does SAA/USCP ask for ID from visitors?
    • If yes, will SAA/USCP provide the information, including names of Members or staff who were part of these tours?
  • Does SAA/USCP enforce Members signing in guests?
    • Does SAA/USCP have logs of which Members signed guests in on 1/5/21?
    • If yes, will SAA/USCP provide the information, including names of Members or staff who were part of these tours?
  • Have any additional law enforcement agencies requested access to these logs?
  • What would prevent the SAA/USCP from permitting a visitor from entering the building?
  • What tracking does the SAA/USCP employ to ensure that one staffer did not bring more than their allotted “official visitors” through multiple entrances?
  • Are there video logs of the day in question?
    • If Yes, will SAA/USCP provide the video logs?
  • Is facial recognition software used for visitors entering the complex?
    • If Yes, will SAA/USCP provide the facial recognition results?
  • Are any of the individuals recorded in the Capitol complex on January 5 being investigated for their role in the insurrection the following day?

We appreciate your immediate attention to this matter.

 

Sincerely,"