Letter to Secretary of the Commonwealth Leigh Chapman argues Mastriano’s involvement in the January 6th insurrection violated his oath of office and disqualifies him from any future candidacy.

HARRISBURG, PA (March 25, 2022) – On behalf of a group of Pennsylvania voters, Free Speech For People, a nonpartisan nonprofit legal advocacy organization, today sent a letter to Secretary of the Commonwealth Leigh Chapman, urging her to bar any run for office by State Senator Doug Mastriano on the grounds that he is disqualified by the U.S. Constitution.

Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment, known as the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause, provides: “No Person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress. . . who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress . . . to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” The purpose of the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause, passed in the wake of the Civil War, is not to punish the oathbreaker but rather to protect the country.

Mastriano, a state senator since 2019 and a candidate for  the Republican primary for governor, tried repeatedly to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Pennsylvania and frequently espoused the false claim that the election was stolen from former president Donald Trump via “voter fraud.” His efforts included a failed effort to impel the Pennsylvania legislature to overturn state law and authorize the appointment of its own electors to the Electoral College. When these efforts failed, Mastriano organized transportation from Pennsylvania to Washington D.C. for Trump’s demonstration at the Ellipse, which led to the attack on the Capitol.

Mastriano had “VIP” status at the Ellipse demonstration and subsequently rode a golf cart and marched to the Capitol. Videos and photographs show Mastriano at the Capitol during the insurrection, on the scene as insurrectionists breached police barricades and assaulted Capitol police officers to enter the building, and he has admitted to his involvement at these events. 

“Mastriano is an experienced military veteran who has studied and written on ‘hybrid warfare’ strategies that relies on ‘ambiguity’ and disinformation to create instability. Many of these strategies were used during the lead-up to and the execution of the January 6 insurrection,” the letter to Secretary Chapman states. “In other words, Mastriano was specifically aware of the consequences that his actions and Trump’s actions were likely to have on fomenting and guiding the insurrection and the Stop the Steal movement’s ongoing efforts to subvert the 2020 election.”

“When Senator Mastriano engaged in the January 6 insurrection that threatened our democracy and put countless lives at risk, he violated the oath that he made to defend and protect the Constitution,” says Courtney Hostetler, senior counsel at Free Speech For People. “Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment is clear: this disqualifies him from running for public office.”

Free Speech For People’s letter to Secretary Chapman is part of a larger movement to hold elected officials accountable to the constitutional requirements for running for office and bar insurrectionists from appearing on any future ballot. Voters in North Carolina and Georgia have filed challenges under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment to block the candidacies of Rep. Madison Cawthorn and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, respectively, for a second term in the House of Representatives. Additionally, Free Speech For People has sent letters to every Secretary of State, urging them to bar Trump from the ballot under the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause as he teases a 2024 run for reelection. More information about that campaign is available at www.14point3.org

Read the full letter here.