If you were at the riot at the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021, two Philadelphia Democrats are coming for you.
State Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta and Christopher Rabb are circulating the “Sedition Free Pennsylvania” bill to amend the state constitution and bar people convicted of sedition from holding office or receiving government contracts. Their proposal would also create a new criminal offense, “seditious conspiracy against the commonwealth” and penalties for it.
Kenyatta, who ran against Lt. Gov. John Fetterman U.S. Senate Democratic primary, acknowledged to Delaware Valley Journal the bill is aimed at keeping people out of government who were involved in the January 6 incident. The most obvious target: state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who is the GOP’s nominee for governor. It would also impact Kathy Barnette, who was a Republican contender for the U.S. Senate and lost the nomination to Dr. Mehmet Oz.
The announcement was also timed just ahead of a prime-time hearing by the U.S. House January 6 Committee on Thursday, Kenyatta said.
“Pennsylvania is second in the country in terms of individuals who went to the insurrection” on January 6, Kenyatta said. “Senate candidate Kathy Barnette went to the rally.” And Mastriano “is testifying before the January 6 committee.”
“It was not your typical Capitol tour,” Kenyatta said. “If you were involved with violent sedition against the country you should not lead the state… and you should not get government contracts.”
Kenyatta expects the Congressional hearing Thursday night to “show how serious, how dangerous” the situation was in the Capitol on January 6.
If enacted, the new constitutional amendment and companion sedition law would mark “a line drawn in the sand.”
Kenyatta denied the legislation was political and said he expects members from both parties to sign on.
Some critics of the Democrat-controlled January 6 investigation say it shows a double standard. While the people who actually entered the Capitol building and damaged property should be punished, what about the people who rioted as part of Black Lives Matter or Antifa protests over the past three years? Riots that caused billions of dollars in damage and left several people dead?
Kenyatta defended the BLM protesters, saying they were trying to prevent “extrajudicial executions in the street.” And the right to peacefully protest is “enshrined in the First Amendment.”
“They were not trying to overthrow the government,” Kenyatta said, noting that BLM and Antifa are not the same. “January 6 was not a protest.”
“All of us take an oath [to uphold the constitution],” and the people who participated in the January 6 riot “cannot live up to it. Sedition is the exact opposite,” Kenyatta said.
“We’re seeing more and more of them running for government,” he said. As for those already in office, “folks would have to leave office,” he said. “Not only can they not hold office, there’s a part of it where they cannot get government contracts.”
Kenyatta said that America’s democracy is young and “fragile.”
“This democracy needs to be protected as a small child,” he said. “We’re still a young child.”
Asked whether the person arrested Wednesday while allegedly on his way to murder Justice Brett Kavanaugh over the leaked Roe v. Wade document should be charged with sedition as well, Kenyatta said, “He has to be held accountable. January 6 inspires people” to use violence to solve political problems, he said. “I’m happy this guy was caught and Justice Kavanaugh is safe.”
As for the Supreme Court rulings that he disagrees with, Kenyatta said, “People should run for office and do what I wanted to do, which was expand the court.”