Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., sent at least one letter to a government agency falsely claiming to be a ranking member of the House of Representatives Select Committee to Investigate the events of Jan. 6. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who serves as the committee’s vice-chair, introduced the letter into the legislative record on Friday.

The revelation came during a debate in Congress about whether to refer former President Donald Trump aide Steve Bannon to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution. Congress already had voted to hold Bannon in contempt.

In a letter to Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Banks wrote, “you are receiving this letter because the House of Representatives Select Committee to Investigate the events of January 6th may have sent you a request for information. The House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy appointed me to serve as the Ranking Member of the Select Committee.”

The letter continues, “yet, house Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to allow me to fulfill my duties as Ranking Member. Pursuant to the rules of the House of Representatives, the minority party in Congress retains rights to the same information that is provided to the majority party.”

Cheney introduced the letter into the record with a comment: “[Banks] noted that the Speaker had determined that he wouldn't be on the committee, so I would like to introduce for the record number of letters the gentleman from Indiana has been sending to federal agencies, dated September 16, 2021, for example, signing his name as the ranking member of the committee he's just informed the House that he's not on and that he in fact is not on.”

A congressional select committee is tasked with investigating the violent mob of Trump supporters that ransacked the US Capitol in Washington on January 6 in an attack that left five people dead A congressional select committee is tasked with investigating the violent mob of Trump supporters that ransacked the US Capitol in Washington on January 6 in an attack that left five people dead Photo: AFP / MANDEL NGAN

According to The Hill, a spokesperson for Banks said in a statement, “Liz Cheney isn’t the ranking member. She is the vice-chair because she was appointed by Democrats. This is the first Select Committee in American history that doesn’t have a ranking member and is entirely partisan. Rep. Banks chose to highlight the unprecedented exclusion of the minority party in his letter.”