Gohmert, Clyde Still Fighting Fines for Ignoring Security Check
WASHINGTON – Republican Reps. Louie Gohmert, of Texas, and Andrew Clyde, of Georgia, are continuing to challenge fines totaling $15,000 for allegedly ignoring a security check before entering the House chamber, the House Ethics Committee announced Thursday.
In the wake of the Capitol Hill riot on Jan. 6 and mounting concerns over the possible involvement of House members in the seige, House leaders quickly moved to install security screening equipment at the entrance of the House chamber.
The House then voted 216-201 on House Resolution 73, which authorized the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Representatives to impose a fine ($5,000 for a first offense and $10,000 for any subsequent offense) against a member, delegate, or the resident commissioner for failure to complete security screening for entrance to the House chamber.
Gohmert ran afoul of the new rules on Feb. 5, making him liable to a $5,000 fine, if the penalty is upheld; while Clyde broke the new security rules twice, on Feb 5. and Feb. 8, making him potentially liable for a fine of $10,000.
“Those metal detectors are there to detain us, and that’s a violation” of the Constitution, Clyde, a freshman in the new Congress, told Fox News soon after he was fined the first time.
“I’m going to fight it,” he added. “I’m going to appeal it, and then I’m going to take it to court because this is unconstitutional.”
But where Clyde refused to go through the metal detectors, saying it was a violation of his rights, Gohmert pleaded ignorance of his offense, telling CNN that he left the House floor to go to the bathroom and did not stop to be screened a second time.
“I went through the metal detector perfectly properly,” the 67-year-old lawmaker it said. “And as I’ve done for weeks ever since the metal detectors have been here, I was about to speak so I came to the restroom, and I’ve never been wanded or anything because they can see you go in and see you come out. And they said, because I didn’t stop and get wanded, I went and spoke. They made it sound like I avoided the metal detectors.”
“I’ve been abiding by those completely. And so all of a sudden, somebody made an arbitrary and capricious decision to start wanding when they saw you go to the restroom,” Gohmert said.
He later said in a statement that he would be “appealing the fine and taking whatever action is necessary, especially considering this policy is unconstitutional.”
On Thursday, the House Ethics Committee issued a public notice of the pending fines and the respective appeals
“The Committee notes that the mandatory publication of a fine notification does not itself reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee,” the notice said. “Upon a determination regarding the appeal, the Committee will make a further public statement regarding this matter. In order to comply with Committee Rule 7 regarding confidentiality, the Committee will refrain from making further public statements until that time.”
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