By Beth Brelje
State Sen. Doug Mastriano, Pennsylvania’s Republican gubernatorial nominee, is scheduled to meet with the Jan. 6 Committee Aug. 9. It was to be a voluntary interview, but the committee is now demanding a compelled deposition.
“Your committee is not legally able to conduct compelled depositions, which is why all of my clients have all offered to participate in voluntary interviews,” Mastriano’s attorney, Timothy C. Parlatore, wrote in an Aug. 5 letter to the committee. “Senator Mastriano is happy to cooperate with your committee, as he has nothing to hide. I do have concerns that are particular to him, given the conduct of the committee up to this point.”
Parlatore believes the Jan. 6 Committee may try to influence Pennsylvania’s election.
“Given the committee’s demonstrated propensity for releasing edited clips of interviews without the requisite context to support a false partisan narrative, I am concerned that there is a risk that your committee will do the same to Senator Mastriano. Members of your party like Sean Patrick Maloney, Democratic Campaign Chair, have openly admitted that the goal of the hearings you are conducting is intended to paint the Republican Party as irresponsible and power hungry ahead of the midterms. For this reason, my client has legitimate concerns that your committee may attempt to influence the outcome of the Pennsylvania state elections through the dissemination of disinformation,” the letter said.
A spokesperson for the Jan. 6 Committee did not respond to a request for comment.
Parlatore’s letter indicates that he is willing to allow the meeting if he can make his own recording of the interview that could be released if the committee releases edited recordings of Mastriano that need more context.
“I was informed by your staffer that you rejected this proposal and refused to make any counterproposals because you wish to retain sole dominion over the public narrative,” the letter said. “Obviously, your refusal to even discuss this is concerning, as there is no downside to me holding a second recording of the interview, unless the committee does, in fact, intend to engage in disinformation with Senator Mastriano’s interview and is afraid of any accountability for that disinformation.”
The lack of a truly bipartisan committee infringes on the rights of the witnesses and serves no legitimate investigative purpose, Parlatore said.
“My client has significant concerns that he is being set up for sanctions due to the committee’s refusal to respect the bounds of privilege and lack of any opposing viewpoints to act as a counterbalance.”
Mastriano would appear in a deposition if the committee gets a ranking minority member designation from the Republican Steering Committee.
But before he testifies in that scenario, Parlatore would go through the Regulations for Use of Deposition Authority to see if all provisions have been met. If not, he and Mastriano would leave and wait for all provisions in the rules to be met the by committee; a judge to rule that the committee does not need to comply with the rules; or they agree to a voluntary interview.
Mastriano attended the Jan. 6 rally in Washington with numerous other people. He has cooperated with the committee so far, providing documents it has requested.