More than 20,000 Pennsylvanians have signed a petition to remove Sen. Pat Toomey from office.
The Change.org petition, created on Saturday, cites the Republican senator's inaccessibility to his constituents and accuses him of "representing himself and his own interests." That appers to be referencing Toomey's vote Tuesday to confirm asEducation Secretary billionaire Betsy DeVos, who donated thousands of dollars to his campaigns.
It called out Toomey and his staff for "refusing to respond to phone calls or listen to, or even clear existing voice mails at any of his offices in Pennsylvania or Washington D.C." It also accuses him of refusing " to respond to e-mails, faxes, and his refusal (and that of his staff) to meet or speak with the voting public, and hear the opinions and the voice of Pennsylvanians on President [Donald] Trump's cabinet nominations."
Petition creator Thomas Exteincalled on fellow Pennsylvanians to recall the senator and replace him with "someone who will properly represent the voting citizens of Pennsylvania, rather than ignoring us."
By Wednesday afternoon, there were 20,429 signatures.
Extein could not be reached Wednesday for comment.
A spokesman for Toomey said the senator's offices around the state and in Washington are "taking an 'all hands on deck' approach" to responding to the flood of calls, emails and other communication that are coming in."
The office directed Metro to a recent constituent outreach day Toomey's office held in Hempfield Township, Mercer County.
Exteinis a resident of Mercer County, which is about 60 miles south of Erie, along the Ohio border. On Tuesday evening, Toomey's Erie officethe outreach day with a staff member to listen to voter concerns regarding DeVos' nomination. DeVos was confirmed that day, with Vice President Mike Pence having to cast the deciding vote to break a 50-50 tie in the Senate.
Several reports have emerged showing that the DeVos family contributed more than $60,000 to Toomey's campaigns, and even larger sums to other senators around the country, prompting a Pennsylvania woman to raise $70,000 to "buy" Toomey's vote against the billionaire donor.
Recalling a senator is a complicated process thateither would requirea constitutional amendment to change the terms and qualifications of a representative, or expulsion via resolution, which must be agreed upon by two-thirds of the Senate.
Joseph Schwartz, a political science professor at Temple University, told Metro that "voters do not have a right in the federal Constitution to recall senators and House members." He added that there would first have to be legislature action passed allowing federal officials to be recalled, and that would have to stand up in the federal court system.
A senator could be impeached or expelled for treason.
According to a 2012 report by a legislative attorney, no senator or member of the House of Representatives has ever been recalled in the nation's history.