A group of Republican lawmakers in Ohio are attempting to impeach Gov. Mike DeWine, a fellow Republican, claiming he violated the law by issuing burdensome coronavirus orders.
Republican state Rep. John Beckers, along with three other lawmakers, filed 12 articles of impeachment against the governor on Monday, arguing "contempt for the rule of law must end."
The lawmakers specifically allege DeWine violated Ohioans' civil liberties by issuing unconstitutional stay-at-home orders, imposing a statewide mask mandate, and treating certain institutions, such as churches, differently than others.
In a statement announcing the move, Becker's office said, "Governor DeWine's mismanagement, malfeasance, misfeasance, abuse of power, and other crimes include, but are not limited to, meddling in the conduct of a presidential primary election, arbitrarily closing and placing curfews on certain businesses, while allowing other businesses to remain open. He weaponized the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation to bully and harass businesses and the people; to enforce a statewide mask mandate and other controversial measures of dubious 'value,' making Ohio a hostile work environment."
"Additionally, Governor DeWine had the further audacity to include congregants at places of worship [in his order], forcing citizens to chose between worshiping their God and worshiping at the altar of unbridled government."
"Rather than hearing the cries of Ohioans, Governor DeWine continues to stifle those cries by finding more inventive ways to use masks to muffle the voices of the people," Becker added in the statement. "He continues to have callous disregard for the fact that his isolation policies have led to a shockingly high number of suicides, alarming rates of drug abuse, persistently high unemployment, and the forced abandonment of the elderly by their loved ones."
Earlier in November, DeWine reimposed a stricter mask mandate and other tougher health guidelines as the state experience a surge in reported coronavirus cases.
In response to the impeachment filing, DeWine told reporters, "I guess they have a right to go and file anything they want to, but you know, we're going to stay focused on what we have to."
According to WTVG-TV, Becker first threatened to file articles of impeachment back in August. At the time, DeWine said he was unfazed by the threats.
Ohio law dictates that the state House of Representatives has sole power to impeach the governor, but that a majority of members must approve. Then, the Senate would hold an impeachment trial where two-thirds are required to formally remove the governor from office.