House

Third House GOP lawmaker issued $5,000 metal detector fine

A third GOP lawmaker, Rep. Hal Rogers (Ky.), has been issued a $5,000 fine for failing to comply with a security screening before entering the House chamber.

According to the Capitol Police report published by the House Ethics Committee on Tuesday, Rogers set off the metal detector stationed at one of the entrances to the House chamber last week but continued walking. A Capitol Police officer then told Rogers he needed to be hand-wanded.

“Maybe later, I have to vote,” Rogers replied, according to the police report. Rogers returned after voting and asked what he needed to do. The officer replied that security screenings needed to be completed before entering the House chamber.

Rogers has appealed the fine, according to the Ethics Committee. An aide to Rogers didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Two other House Republicans have faced fines for declining to follow the security screenings, which were established following the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The Ethics Committee upheld the fines against Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.).

House Democrats established the fines — $5,000 for the first offense and $10,000 for the second — after several Republicans refused to comply with the screenings in January. Some Republicans continued walking after setting off the metal detectors or pushed past Capitol Police officers tasked with enforcing the screenings.

Clyde, who was issued two fines worth a total of $15,000, said last week that he plans to challenge the fines in federal court.

The Ethics Committee has 30 days to issue a decision on whether to grant an appeal of a fine. If a majority on the evenly split panel doesn’t agree to an appeal, then the fine is upheld.

Lawmakers must pay the fines directly from their official salaries and cannot use campaign or office budget funds.

Members of Congress are typically granted the privilege of bypassing metal detectors throughout the Capitol complex. With the exception of the metal detectors outside the House chamber, they still can skip security screenings to enter other parts of the Capitol or surrounding office buildings that staff and visitors are required to undergo.

A concealed gun was found on Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) in January when he first attempted to go through a metal detector to enter the House floor, confirming Democrats’ fears that some Republicans were flouting long-standing rules prohibiting firearms on the House and Senate floors.

Gohmert maintained in his appeal that he had complied with an initial screening to enter the House chamber but briefly left to use the restroom across the hall. He said he was unaware that he needed to undergo another screening upon returning to the chamber.

Clyde, meanwhile, did not deny in his appeal that he had evaded the metal detectors. He instead argued that the fines are unconstitutional and have been selectively enforced.

Tags Andy Harris fine Hal Rogers Harold Rogers Kentucky Louie Gohmert metal detector

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