Ethics panel dismisses GOP lawmaker's $5,000 metal detector fine

The House Ethics Committee said Thursday that it has agreed to drop the $5,000 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.), who disputed the Capitol Police's account that she failed to complete a security screening before entering the House chamber.

The decision marks the third time that the Ethics Committee has agreed to an appeal of fines meant to enforce compliance with the metal detector screenings enacted after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

A bipartisan majority of the evenly split 10-member panel must agree for a lawmaker's appeal to succeed.


According to the Capitol Police report documenting the incident, Foxx set off a metal detector in front of a door to the House chamber. She then allegedly threw her bag underneath the table near the magnetometer and proceeded into the chamber to vote, even though two Capitol Police officers tried to stop her.

Foxx then returned to the screening area and allegedly "told the officers something in the effect of, 'Good thing no one stopped me.'"

Foxx wrote in her appeal to the House Ethics Committee that "I dispute the facts as presented," but did not offer a detailed explanation.

To date, the House Ethics Committee has upheld fines against three House Republicans who filed appeals: Reps. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertWashington ramps up security ahead of Sept. 18 rally Police brace for Capitol rally defending Jan. 6 mob Watchdog group seeks ethics probe over McCarthy's Jan. 6 comments MORE (Texas), Andrew Clyde (Ga.) and 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 (Pa.).

Gohmert and Clyde have since filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the fines.


But the House Ethics Committee decided last month to drop the 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.).

House Democrats instituted the fines — $5,000 for the first offense and $10,000 for the second — to enforce the metal detector screenings because numerous Republicans tried to evade them. In January, a concealed gun was found on Rep. Andy HarrisAndrew (Andy) Peter HarrisSixth 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 House GOP leaders say vaccine works but shouldn't be mandated MORE (R-Md.) while he underwent a screening to enter the House chamber.

Democrats had also established fines to enforce rules requiring everyone in the House chamber to wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, after some Republicans were refused to comply.

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

But starting earlier this month, upon revised guidance from the Capitol physician, the universal mask requirement has been lifted and few lawmakers in either party continue to wear them.