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

Rep. Virginia Foxx (N.C.) is the fourth House GOP lawmaker to be issued a $5,000 fine for failing to complete a security screening before entering the House chamber, according to a notice published by the House Ethics Committee on Tuesday. 

According to the Capitol Police report documenting the incident last Thursday, Foxx set off a metal detector stationed in front of a door leading to the House chamber. Two Capitol Police officers tried to stop Foxx, but she threw her bag underneath a table near the metal detector and still went into the chamber. 

Foxx then returned to the metal detector and allegedly told the officers, “Good thing no one stopped me.”

One of the officers replied that a reporter had witnessed the incident and said, “I don’t know if it changes anything but I don’t want you guys to get in trouble. But I’m going to be reporting on that.” 

According to the Politico reporter who witnessed the incident, Foxx said she was running late to the vote and “ran back out and went back in.” 

When the reporter tried to ask a follow-up question, Foxx cut her off and said: “Why don’t you deal with things that are important?” 

Lawmakers are allowed to appeal the metal detector fines to the House Ethics Committee, but Foxx has yet to do so. 

A Foxx spokesperson didn’t immediately return a request for comment from The Hill on Tuesday.

Three other House Republicans — Reps. Louie Gohmert (Texas), Andrew Clyde (Ga.) and Hal Rogers (Ky.) — have also been issued metal detector fines, along with House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.).

The House Ethics Committee has upheld the fines against Gohmert and Clyde. Clyde has said that he plans to challenge his fines in federal court. 

House Democrats voted in February to make lawmaker noncompliance with the security screenings punishable by fine ± $5,000 for the first offense and $10,000 for the second — after several Republicans refused to comply when the metal detectors were first installed outside the House chamber after the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Democrats have said they’re concerned some Republicans may be violating longstanding rules prohibiting guns on the House and Senate floors. 

A concealed gun was found on Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) in January when he set off a metal detector to enter the House floor, while Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) told the Washington Free Beacon weeks later that “historically speaking, a number of members that carried just kind of didn’t really acknowledge or follow that rule but they didn’t make a show out of it.” 

Members of Congress are typically granted privileges to skip the metal detector screenings that are required for all staff and visitors to enter the Capitol complex. Aside from the metal detectors outside the House chamber, lawmakers are still exempt from screenings to enter the main building or surrounding office buildings.

Tags Andy Harris Chip Roy Hal Rogers Louie Gohmert Virginia Foxx

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