Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the Senate would have no choice but to swear in Roy Moore if he is elected next week to represent Alabama in the U.S. Senate.
“My understanding is, based on a 1969 Supreme Court decision, we would have no option but to swear him in,” McConnell told reporters.
Moore has a slight lead in the latest polls against Democrat Doug Jones. Many Alabama Republicans are predicting he will win, despite facing multiple charges of predatory behavior with young teenage girls while in his 30’s as well as allegations of sexual misconduct with minors.
President Trump this week made it clear that he wants Moore over Jones, to make it easier to get his agenda through the Senate. But McConnell, R-Ky., said Moore, if elected and seated in the Senate, would face an immediate investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee.
“The committee would look at the case and give us their advice,” McConnell said.
The Supreme Court ruled decades ago against an attempt to block an elected official from taking office in Congress. In 1969, the high court told House lawmakers they must swear in Rep. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., D-N.Y., who was under investigation for corruption.
McConnell said his own viewpoint has not changed when it comes to Moore, who McConnell has said should drop out of the race.
McConnell appeared to back down on that demand on CBS’s "Face the Nation" Sunday when he said “the people of Alabama are going to decide,” whether Roy Moore belongs in the Senate.
But on Tuesday, McConnell denied that he has changed his opinion, and noted that Moore has not left the race.
McConnell said the Senate GOP fundraising arm will not provide any new resources to the Moore campaign, even though the Republican National Committee is again backing the candidate after briefly severing ties.
“There has been no change of heart,” McConnell said.
The election is Dec. 12.