House ethics panel scraps $5K fines for reps who ducked security

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Rep. Hal Rogers was fined for allegedly refusing to let a security guard use a hand wand after the metal detector was set off.

The House Ethics Committee announced Thursday it had ruled in favor of a pair of lawmakers who were fined $5,000 last month for failing to comply with security screening.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) will no longer have to pay up thanks to the vote of the 10-member panel, which is made up of their fellow representatives.

The fine against Rogers stemmed from an incident on April 14, in which Capitol Police claimed he set off a metal detector while entering the House chamber. A memo submitted to the Ethics Committee claimed Rogers, who has served in Congress for 40 years, shrugged off an officer’s attempt to use a hand wand on him, saying: “Maybe later, I have to vote.” The memo added that after Rogers voted, he returned to the screening area “and asked what he needed to do now.”

Rogers described the incident at the time as a “simple misunderstanding” and issued a brief statement Thursday saying he was “very pleased that the Committee agreed that I did nothing wrong.”

Rep. Hal Rogers was fined for allegedly refusing to let a security guard use a hand wand after the metal detector was set off.
CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag

Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, was hit with his fine after Capitol Police accused him of avoiding the metal detectors while returning from the bathroom during a floor vote April 20.

“At no time did I refuse any officer’s request to submit to screening,” Clyburn insisted in his appeal. His office did not immediately return a request for comment.

Three other House Republicans have been fined at least $5,000 for refusing to comply with security procedures implemented after the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

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Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) had his appeal rejected by the Ethics Committee. Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) was fined a total of $15,000 for two violations and has sought to challenge the penalty in federal court after the Ethics Committee rejected his appeal.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), who was fined after an incident similar to what happened to Rogers, has not said whether she plans to appeal to the ethics panel.



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