Blumenauer boycott call dragged into impeachment inquiry
Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer's call for a boycott of Gordon Sondland's hotels got a short spin in the impeachment spotlight Wednesday morning as Republicans blasted the congressman for "bullying" a congressional witness.
U.S. Rep. Mike Conway, a West Texas Republican, used his three minutes of committee time Wednesday, Nov. 20, to slam Blumenauer's boycott call. Conway said the boycott was intended to intimidate Sondland during his congressional testimony before the House Intelligence Impeachment Inquiry.
"Mr. Blumenauer should not be using the vast influences that we have to bully you (Sondland) and your businesses into harm the hundreds or thousands of employees that operate your business by trying take business away from you to force you into doing something that they wanted you to do," Conway told the committee. "That's a shame. I'm hopeful that my colleagues will join me in saying, 'Mr. Blumenauer, you really shouldn't be using your congressional influence to try to bully and threaten a witness before these proceedings.' "
Blumenauer said in a Wednesday afternoon statement that he "called out" Sondland to testify before the inquiry after the Portland businessman received a committee subpoena. "When Gordon Sondland refused to fulfill his duty as an American citizen to comply with a legally issued subpoena and testify in front of Congress, I called him out," Blumenauer said. "I'm glad that he testified. It appears that the third time is the charm, and he seems to have finally correctly recalled his knowledge of Trump's abuse of his powers. I also hope others who know of or have been part of Donald Trump's impeachable offenses come forward and tell the American people the truth."
Blumenauer, a Democrat representing Oregon's 3rd Congressional District, called Oct. 9 for a boycott of Sondland's Provenance Hotels, which includes Portland's Hotel Lucia, Hotel deLuxe and the Sentinel Hotel. His company also manages the Heathman Hotel.
The boycott call led to rallies in front of the hotels, with picket signs calling for Sondland to tell the truth about the Ukraine investigation and investigation requests by President Trump.
The company struck back a few days later by filing an ethics complaint against Blumenauer, saying he improperly used his position to threaten "economic harm" to a company and unlawfully threatened "reprisal" versus a federal official.
Sondland has testified for more than three hours Wednesday before the impeachment inquiry about his role in Ukraine and what he knew of President Trump's involvement in investigation requests.
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