Republican Reps. Louie Gohmert (Texas) and Andrew Clyde (Ga.) will be hit with $5,000 fines for allegedly skirting a new rule requiring lawmakers to pass through metal detectors on their way to the House floor, a senior Democratic aide told Forbes, making them the first members of Congress to face penalties for violating a new House security policy.
Gohmert and Clyde will each have $5,000 deducted from their paychecks for evading the metal detectors (CNN was first to report on the penalties).
The two lawmakers are the first members of Congress to get penalized since the House approved fines for rulebreakers earlier this week.
Gohmert told Axios he plans on appealing the fine, adding, “this isn’t ‘The Godfather’ where you plant a gun in the toilet tank … There is no toilet tank in the bathroom.”
Spokespeople for Gohmert and Clyde did not respond to requests for comment, and the House Chief Administrative Officer declined to comment.
What To Watch For
The House authorized $10,000 penalties for second offenses, so if Gohmert and Clyde are caught violating security rules again, their fines could double.
Metal detectors were installed at the doors of the House chamber one week after the Capitol riots, and all lawmakers were instructed to pass through them. Almost immediately, Gohmert and more than a dozen other House Republicans skirted this policy by either setting off the metal detectors or dodging them altogether, and Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) was reportedly caught trying to carry a concealed gun into the chamber. In response, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called for fines to punish rulebreakers, claiming some Republicans “disrespected [Capitol Police] by verbally abusing them and refusing to adhere to basic precautions.”
House Republicans have chided the metal detector policy, casting it as disruptive and unnecessary grandstanding, and several members of Congress vocally complained to Capitol Police officers charged with enforcing the rules. Plus, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) argued fines could violate the 27th amendment, which bars members of Congress from changing their own salaries in the middle of a term.
“The enemy is within the House of Representatives. A threat that members are concerned about,” Pelosi said at a press conference last month, citing members who “want to bring guns on the floor” and have “threatened violence on other members.”
Pelosi To Fine House Members Up To $10,000 For Evading Metal Detectors (Forbes)
House Approves $5,000 Fine For Lawmakers Who Refuse To Walk Through Metal Detectors (Forbes)
‘The Enemy Is Within’: Pelosi Says Lawmakers Have ‘Threatened Violence’ Against Other Members (Forbes)