House Ethics panel upholds $5,000 metal detector fine against GOP lawmaker

The House Ethics Committee on Monday upheld a $5,000 fine levied against Rep. Lloyd SmuckerLloyd Kenneth SmuckerSixth House GOP lawmaker issued K metal detector fine Ethics panel dismisses GOP lawmaker's ,000 metal detector fine House Ethics panel upholds ,000 metal detector fine against GOP lawmaker MORE (R-Pa.) for failing to complete a security screening before entering the House chamber.

Smucker is the third House Republican whose appeal against paying the fine has been rejected by the House Ethics Committee.

The two other Republicans — Reps. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertRepublicans keep distance from 'Justice for J6' rally Security forces under pressure to prevent repeat of Jan. 6 Washington ramps up security ahead of Sept. 18 rally MORE (Texas) and Andrew Clyde (Ga.) — filed a lawsuit earlier this month challenging the constitutionality of using fines to enforce compliance with the metal detectors installed outside of the House chamber after the Jan. 6 insurrection.

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In their lawsuit filed in a D.C. federal court, Gohmert and Clyde argued that the fines amount to "a means of harassing democratically-elected representatives who are members of the opposition party in the House of Representatives."

The House Ethics Committee last month agreed to drop the metal detector fines issued against House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Rep. Hal RogersHarold (Hal) Dallas RogersSixth House GOP lawmaker issued K metal detector fine House passes spending bill to boost Capitol Police and Hill staffer pay Democrats repeal prohibition on funding abortions abroad MORE (R-Ky.). A bipartisan majority of the evenly split panel — which has five Democrats and five Republicans — must agree for an appeal to succeed.

Another case, involving a fine issued to Rep. Virginia FoxxVirginia Ann FoxxSixth House GOP lawmaker issued K metal detector fine Republicans unveil bill to ban federal funding of critical race theory Biden extends pause on student loan payments to 2022 MORE (R-N.C.), is still pending.

According to the Capitol Police report filed with the fine notification issued to Smucker, the Pennsylvania Republican entered the House chamber on May 19 without being screened despite police officers' attempts to get his attention.

The officers were eventually able to inform Smucker that he needed to go through the magnetometer. Smucker then complied with a screening after he had already voted on the House floor.

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The fines are deducted from lawmakers' official salaries. House members are expressly prohibited from paying them with funds from their campaign or congressional office budgets.

House Democrats voted to establish the fines earlier this year because numerous Republicans evaded the metal detectors in defiance of the Capitol Police officers instituting the new screenings after Jan. 6. Democrats' fears about Republicans possibly carrying weapons were confirmed after Capitol Police officers found a concealed gun on Rep. Andy HarrisAndrew (Andy) Peter HarrisRepublicans demanding Blinken impeachment are forgetting one thing — the Constitution Sixth House GOP lawmaker issued K metal detector fine Overnight Health Care: Biden officials says no change to masking guidance right now | Missouri Supreme Court rules in favor of Medicaid expansion | Mississippi's attorney general asks Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade MORE (R-Md.) in January while he underwent a metal detector screening outside the House chamber.

Democrats also imposed fines earlier this year to enforce rules requiring everyone to wear masks on the House floor after some Republicans refused to comply. 

The mask requirement is no longer being enforced after the Capitol physician gave the green light earlier this month for people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to forgo masks in the House chamber.

The House Ethics Committee nevertheless upheld $500 fines last week against three Republicans who refused to wear masks in the days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in May that fully vaccinated people didn't need to wear facial coverings in most settings.