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Advocacy group files complaint as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene seeks re-election

The Texas-based organization Free Speech for People filed the complaint Thursday with the Georgia Secretary of State's Office.

ATLANTA — An advocacy group is challenging Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene's re-election bid as she seeks a second term representing Georgia's 14th district in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The complaint cites Greene's comments before and after the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol, claiming she facilitated the event and should be considered ineligible to hold office under the Disqualification Act of the 14th Amendment in the U.S. Constitution. 

"If you're able, I ask you to come. We definitely want your support.," Greene is heard saying in videos linked to in the complaint, and "You can't allow it to just transfer power 'peacefully' like Joe Biden wants and allow him to become our president. Because he did not win this election."

The complaint also quotes the congresswoman as calling rioters "patriots" and condemning court cases against the rioters.

The Georgia Secretary of State's Office confirmed with 11Alive on Thursday it received the complaint filed by Texas-based Free Speech for People. 

As state law dictates, Sec. Brad Raffensperger's staff directed the complaint to the Office of State Administrative Hearings, a court that handles administrative complaints. 

OSAH confirmed it received the complaint but a hearing before a judge hasn't yet been scheduled. 

Greene is set to have her name appear on the Republican primary ballot on May 24.

If the case moves forward, it could force Greene to testify under oath, but a similar complaint recently filed against Republican North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn shows getting to that point isn't guaranteed. 

In the complaint, the riot at the Capitol is called an insurrection, which is important when citing the Disqualification Act. 

According to 11Alive legal analyst Page Pate though, insurrection is a term without a definition under federal law.

"The question becomes how do they make that determination? What are the standards? It is really up for grabs because there is no precedent out there now to guide their decision," Pate said. 

The disqualification clause in the 14th Amendment calls for people who engaged in an insurrection to not hold offices: No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, 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. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

"If nothing is done to stop this process then the office of administrative hearings will send out a notice requiring her to appear and answer questions presumably under oath about her involvement in this incident. But we have seen similar cases get stopped at this stage by the candidate filing a lawsuit in federal court," Pate said. 

He is referencing Cawthorn's case. 

The complaint against the congressman was also filed by Free Speech for People. Cawthorn filed a federal lawsuit objecting to the complaint and a judge sided with Cawthorn, halting the legal challenge against him.

Free Speech For People though has appealed the judge's ruling. 

11Alive contacted Rep. Greene Thursday for comment on the complaint but didn't receive a response.

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