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Rep. Paul Gosar fired back at the House Democrat who called for an ethics investigation of him over the Jan. 6 riot, calling her request baseless, defamatory and suggesting it could wind up in court.

In a 30-page response, Gosar, R-Ariz., said he exercised his free speech rights and strongly pushed back on allegations by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., that he helped instigate the violence at the U.S. Capitol.

“Know this: I have never instigated violence,” he said in his formal response to the House Ethics Committee. “I have no criminal record of any type. I have never aided or abetted violence. I have not urged or supported violence. A review of Jayapal’s unsupported, baseless, and fraudulent allegations suggest they are devoid of reality and smothered in Blue Anon conspiracy theories, ad hominem attacks, and baseless speculation.

“Alleging that I have somehow acted criminally, or against the country I love and protect, is defamatory and reckless. The civil courts will resolve that issue.”

The term “Blue Anon” is used by the right to describe promoters of left-wing conspiracy theories.

A spokesman for Jayapal’s office could not be reached for comment.

In March letters to the House Ethics Committee and to the separate Office of Congressional Ethics, Jayapal said Gosar “urged supporters to take action against election certification, repeatedly insisting that the election had been stolen and participating in rallies alleging voter fraud.”

She filed similar complaints against Reps. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., and Mo Brooks, R-Ala. In her response Friday, Boebert called the complaint “baseless and partisan.”

Jayapal, who chairs the liberal Congressional Progressive Caucus, buttressed her request against Gosar with media accounts detailing his participation in “Stop the Steal” rallies organized by Texas resident Ali Alexander. He called Gosar the “spirit animal” of the effort to rally in Washington on the day Congress was required to certify the election results.

Since the riot, Gosar has come under intense scrutiny for his baseless allegations of election theft. The riot by a pro-Trump mob has only deepened partisan tensions in Washington.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., compiled a list of what she viewed as troubling social media posts that helped create the environment for the Jan. 6 violence.

At 177 pages, the portion listing Gosar’s posts appeared to be the longest of any member Lofgren’s 1,900-page report cited.

Gosar’s response to Jayapal notes that he had the right to object to the 2020 presidential election results, just as she did in 2017, when she objected to former President Donald Trump’s victory at that time.

Gosar assails Jayapal for calling the attack on the Capitol an insurrection and points out that Democrat Stacey Abrams called into question Georgia’s election systems when she narrowly lost that state’s gubernatorial election in 2018.

And the 2016 election was “permeated with accusations of fraud,” Gosar wrote.

“I point out this history to put into context my statements and actions and to rebut Ms. Jayapal’s false allegations that anyone who questioned any part of the 2020 presidential election, or election integrity in general, is part of a ‘conspiracy’ or engaging in deceit,” he added.

“It is therefore not surprising, and certainly not unethical, to address voter concerns when there is a repeated, sustained and persistent concern that our election processes have been corrupted or are corruptible. These concerns span decades.”

Reach the reporter Ronald J. Hansen at ronald.hansen@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-4493. Follow him on Twitter @ronaldjhansen.

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