Far-right demonstrators kicked in a door to the Oregon State Capitol during a special legislative session Dec. 21, 2020. (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)
Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, has appointed a special committee to consider expelling state Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence, for his role in allowing violent demonstrators into the Capitol building last year.
Kotek announced Monday that the Special Committee on December 21, 2020 would convene later this week. The committee is named for the date of a riot that occurred at the Oregon Capitol that saw assaults on police and journalists as demonstrators attempting to force their way into the building, which has been closed to the public because of the pandemic.
Kotek convened the committee in response to a video that surfaced last week of Nearman telling demonstrators that he would let them into the building.
“The severity of Representative Nearman’s actions and last week’s revelation that they were premeditated require a special committee to immediately consider expelling him from the House of Representatives,” said Kotek in a statement. “He knowingly put the physical safety of everyone in the Capitol – lawmakers, staff and law enforcement – in jeopardy.”
In January, surveillance footage was released showing Nearman letting a group of demonstrators into the building who violently confronted police. Since then, he’s been stripped of his committee assignments and faces criminal charges as well as calls to resign. A report by an outside investigator hired by the Legislature released last week found that Nearman intentionally let demonstrators in, which staff described as "terrifying."
The committee, evenly split along party lines, will consider House Resolution 3. If approved by the full House on a two-thirds vote, it would expel Nearman.
Nearman did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.