Sixth House member issued $5,000 security screening fine
Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa.) became the sixth House member to be issued a $5,000 fine for failing to complete a security screening before entering the House chamber last week, the House Ethics Committee revealed on Monday.
The Capitol Police report filed with the fine notification states that Smucker entered the House chamber without undergoing a security screening last Wednesday, even though a police officer on duty tried to get his attention.
Police officers later got Smucker’s attention after he had already entered the House chamber. Smucker subsequently went back through the metal detector for a screening after he had already voted on the floor.
A spokesperson for Smucker told The Hill that the Pennsylvania Republican is appealing the fine.
Lawmakers have 30 days to file an appeal to the Ethics Committee after receiving a fine notification from the House sergeant-at-arms. A bipartisan majority of the evenly split committee must agree to overturn a fine in order for an appeal to succeed.
So far, the Ethics Committee has upheld fines issued against Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.).
But the Ethics Committee announced last week that it was dropping the fines issued to House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.).
Clyburn was the first Democrat to be issued a fine after he underwent a screening prior to entering the House chamber and then allegedly did not go through the metal detector a second time after briefly leaving to use the restroom.
The Capitol Police report accompanying the fine notification issued to Rogers stated that he continued to walk into the House chamber despite setting off the metal detector. A Capitol Police officer told Rogers that he needed to be wanded, but Rogers replied: “Maybe later, I have to vote.” Rogers later returned to the security checkpoint, at which time the officer clarified he needed to complete the screening before — not after — entering the chamber.
Both Clyburn and Rogers denied the accounts in their appeals to the Ethics Committee.
The House Ethics Committee also announced last week that Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) was issued a fine for allegedly continuing to walk into the House chamber despite setting off the metal detector.
House Democrats voted in February to establish the fines — $5,000 for the first offense and $10,000 for the second — after several Republicans refused to comply with the metal detector screenings instituted after the Jan. 6 insurrection. A concealed handgun was reportedly found on one Republican, Rep. Andy Harris (Md.), in January after he set off a metal detector.
Democrats also established fines to enforce compliance with rules requiring everyone to wear masks on the House floor during the COVID-19 pandemic: $500 for the first offense and $2,500 for subsequent offenses.
Multiple House Republicans were fined $500 last week for refusing to wear masks. They were calling to loosen the mask requirements in light of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent guidance that people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 don’t need to wear face coverings in most settings.
However, most of the Republicans issued fines or warnings last week for refusing to wear masks on the House floor have declined to confirm if they are vaccinated or have said outright that they won’t get vaccinated.
–Updated at 2:55 p.m.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.