A Democratic congressman faces $5,000 fine after Capitol police say he flouted the Capitol’s metal detector security protocol

Jim Clyburn
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina) speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill.

  • House Majority Whip James Clyburn faces a $5,000 fine after Capitol Police said he bypassed metal detectors.
  • If he doesn’t appeal, Clyburn would be the first Democrat to be fined for violating the security protocols.
  • Metal detectors were installed at the Capitol following the January 6 riots.
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A Democratic congressman was fined $5,000 for failing to complete the Capitol’s metal detector security protocol, according to a document from the Committee of Ethics released earlier this week.

A Capitol police report of the April 20 incident said House Majority James Clyburn “deliberately avoided being screened by refusing to submit to screening at the West lobby screening point.”

“Congressman Clyburn went to the restroom, came out, and continued past the officers and into the House Chamber,” according to the report.

Metal detectors were installed at the Capitol by the order of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi following the January 6 riots.

A spokesperson for Clyburn’s office said in a statement to Politico that the South Carolina Democrat “respects the rules of the chamber and he disputes the characterization of this incident.” A source familiar with the incident also told Politico that Clyburn went around the metal detector to return to the House floor, but he had gone through the security less than 10 minutes earlier.

On Wednesday, acting Sergeant at Arms Timothy P. Blodgett wrote in a letter to the House Ethics Committee that Clyburn has been notified of the fine and his right to appeal within the next 30 days. Clyburn told CNN’s Manu Raju on Thursday that he plans to appeal the fine.

He would be the first Democrat to be fined for violating the Capitol’s security protocols.

Multiple GOP members have refused to comply with the security measures, including Reps. Louie Gohmert and Andrew Clyde.

In January, Pelosi said lawmakers will face a fine deducted from their salary for bypassing metal detectors – $5,000 for the first violation and $10,000 for the second. House Democrats voted in February to uphold the consequence for violation the new safety measures.

“It is tragic that this step is necessary, but the Chamber of the People’s House must and will be safe,” she said when announcing the fines.

Clyde said in February he planned to “fight” the $5,000 fine for evading metal detectors. He is forced to pay upwards of $15,000 in fines for avoiding being screened after a House Ethics Committee rejected his appeals in April, Forbes reported.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez denounced House Republicans who scoffed at new security measures at the Capitol in the wake of the deadly insurrection

AOC House floor coronavirus stimulus
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed House Republicans who refused to comply with safety measures implemented after the deadly Capitol siege on January 6.
  • A number of House Republicans were observed flouting the new protocols, which included walking through a metal detector, with some GOP lawmakers walking around them or pushing past Capitol police officers, according to reporters on Capitol Hill.
  • “All these GOP ‘pro-police’ slogans were never actually abt safety,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “It was always abt upholding a system of state violence that targets Black ppl & ppl of color. You can tell by how regularly GOP members defend crimes, reject accountability, & push officers when *they* want to.”
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed House Republicans who refused to comply with new safety protocols implemented at the Capitol building in the wake of the deadly insurrection on January 6.

GOP representatives sparred with and pushed past Capitol police who asked them to walk through metal detectors before entering the chamber as the House voted on a resolution to call on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment.

The resolution was adopted largely along party lines in a 223-205 vote, with one Republican joining Democrats in supporting it.

GOP freshman congresswoman Lauren Boebert, who has engaged with QAnon conspiracy theories, refused to walk through the metal detector and allow Capitol police to search her bag, according to reporter Marc Rod. Boebert was later allowed to enter the chamber; it’s unclear if her bag was searched.

Rep. Steve Scalise was photographed by CNN’s Manu Raju with his arms crossed in front of the magnetometer, calling the new protocol “untenable” because it “impedes the ability of members to come and vote. This is our job.” Rep. Louie Gohmert walked around the metal detector, Fuller reported, telling police as he passed by: “You can’t stop me; I’m on my way to a vote.”

Read more: House Republicans scoff at new security measures in place at the US Capitol less than a week after Trump provoked a violent insurrection

GOP Rep. Steve Womack shouted that he was “physically restrained” as he was forced to go through a metal detector, and Rep. Markwayne Mullin said it was his “constitutional right” to refuse to walk through and the Capitol police “cannot stop” him.

Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a Tuesday tweet condemning the congresspeople who refused to comply with Capitol police.

“It’s almost as though GOP members promoting videos of themselves illegally carrying firearms on Capitol grounds, posting images of themselves holding guns next to Democratic members,& inciting an attack on the Capitol has consequences!” she wrote. “Naturally, GOP are crying & playing victim.”

“All these GOP ‘pro-police’ slogans were never actually abt safety,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a follow-up tweet. “It was always abt upholding a system of state violence that targets Black ppl & ppl of color.”

“You can tell by how regularly GOP members defend crimes, reject accountability, & push officers when *they* want to,” she continued.

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