GOP Reps. Gohmert And Clyde Fined Thousands After Police Say They ‘Deliberately Avoided’ Security Screenings
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Topline

The House Ethics Committee confirmed on Thursday that Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) have been fined for evading security screenings at the Capitol, the first lawmakers to be punished under new rules put in place after the Jan. 6 attack.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 03: U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) attends the year’s opening session on … [+] January 3, 2021 in Washington, DC. Both chambers are holding rare Sunday sessions to open the new Congress as the Constitution requires. (Photo by Bill O’Leary-Pool/Getty Images)

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Key Facts

In letters to committee chair Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), released by the committee on Thursday, acting House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodget said in February that Gohmert had been fined $5,000, while Clyde incurred two separate fines of $5,000 and $10,000, for a total of $15,000.

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 have both appealed their respective fines, according to the committee, which said it will “refrain from making further public statements” until the appeals are adjudicated.

Forbes has reached out to Gohmert and Clyde’s offices for comment.

Chief Critic

Gohmert blasted the fine when it was first reported in February, asserting in a statement, “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.”

Key Background

The metal detectors were set up as part of a number of security measures adopted in response to the Jan. 6 attack, in which Trump supporters charged police and stormed the building to stop lawmakers from certifying President Joe Biden’s victory. Republicans showed immediate disdain for them and many refused to comply, leading House Democrats to pass fines for evading them.

Crucial Quote

“House Republicans have disrespected our heroes by verbally abusing them and refusing to adhere to basic precautions,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement announcing the fines. “It is tragic this step is necessary, but the Chamber of the People’s House must and will be safe.”

What To Watch For

While Republicans have largely complied with the new rules, anger is likely to persist over the new security measures. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) last week referred to the metal detectors as “the real voter suppression,” while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy claimed on Thursday that he spoke to a House Democrat who expressed “frustration” about fencing around the Capitol.

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