Former President Donald Trump was already booted off GOP presidential primary ballots in Colorado and Maine. Now, one of his top congressional allies is in the crosshairs of a similar legal challenge.
Republican House member Scott Perry of Pennsylvania is being targeted in a fresh lawsuit brought by a local activist who wants to kick the Trump-loving congressman off this year’s primary ballot over activities related to the 2020 election.
The activist, Gene Stilp, wants Perry disqualified for “interfering with the Constitutionally mandated certification of the election on January 6, 2021,” according to the seven-page lawsuit.
The legal challenge, which was filed in a Pennsylvania court on Tuesday, alleges Perry engaged in conspiracy theories and made spurious voter fraud allegations. The lawsuit points out Perry was in contact with several people around Trump who have already been indicted for their efforts to swing the election for Trump in Georgia, including lawyers Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell.
The lawsuit relies on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which disqualifies anyone from becoming a congressman or officer of the United States who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or [gave] aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
That language was originally inserted into the Constitution over 150 years ago in the wake of the Civil War. This same clause has already been used against Trump in Colorado and Maine, in cases now widely expected to be resolved by the Supreme Court. Trump’s lawyers appealed the Maine ruling on Tuesday.
In a statement, Perry’s lawyer slammed the lawsuit.
“This lawsuit was filed by a partisan activist who clearly has no regard or understanding of how our Democratic Republic works,” wrote the lawyer, John P. Rowley, according to the Associated Press. “It is but the latest effort by an extremist to disqualify a duly elected official with whom he disagrees. We are confident the Supreme Court will put an end to this lunacy.”
Perry has not been charged with any crime. However, the FBI seized his cell phone in the summer of 2022 while investigating the events surrounding the 2020 election. A judge subsequently ordered Perry to turn over 1,600 emails and texts found on the phone to federal investigators in December.
Perry is widely expected to compete in this November’s election, although local rules do not allow anyone to submit paperwork to formally register their candidacy until later this month.