Republican lawmakers got caught for blatantly defying Capitol security — now they'll have to pay the price

Republican lawmakers got caught for blatantly defying Capitol security — now they'll have to pay the price

After the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol Building, security measures were put in place to protect members of Congress. Some GOP lawmakers, however, have complained that they find the measures intrusive. And according to Forbes reporter Andrew Solender, the House Ethics Committee has confirmed that two Republicans serving in the U.S. House of Representatives have been fined for evading security screenings at the House floor: Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas and Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia.

Acting House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodget, in letters sent to House Ethics Committee Chairman Ted Deutch, noted that in February, Gohmert was fined $5,000 and Clyde received two separate fines — one for $5,000, another for $10,000. Between the two, Clyde was fined $15,000. Those letters to Deutch were released by the House Ethics Committee on Thursday, according to Solender.

The Forbes journalist reports, "The Capitol Police said, in memos, that Gohmert and Clyde 'deliberately avoided being screened' even after officers explained the new requirements, adding that they 'continued past the officer and into the House chamber' in each incident. In one instance on Feb. 5, Clyde refused to let security use a wand on him after setting off the metal detector set up outside the House chamber — while another time, he walked around the metal detector entirely, the memos claim."

Gohmert and Clyde, according to Solender, have appealed their fines. After he was fined in February, Solender reports, Gohmert accused Democrats of persecuting him — saying, "This fine has nothing to do with following the rules and everything to do with furthering the Democrats' never-ending scheme to demonize and punish their political opponents."

Security measures that include metal detectors outside the House chamber and fencing outside the Capitol Building did not exist prior to Jan. 6, when the Capitol was violently attacked by a mob of extremists who were trying to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over then-President Donald Trump. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that while it's "tragic" that the security measures are needed, they are a necessary evil — and in a Jan. 13 speech, Pelosi announced that there would be fines for those who didn't adhere to them. The fines are $5000 for a first offence and $10,000 for a second offence, and Pelosi warned that they would be "deducted directly from members' salaries by the chief administrative officer."

Solender notes that although Republicans in Congress "have largely complied with the new rules," some have been vehemently railing against them — including far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who described the security measures as "the real voter suppression."

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