The U.S. House Ethics Committee has denied U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert’s appeal of the $5,000 metal detector fine he was levied in February.
Gohmert, R-Tyler, was one of two representatives fined for avoiding metal detectors on the House floor. Under a new rule, if a lawmaker doesn’t undergo the security screening in the House, a $5,000 fee must be paid for a first offense and $10,000 for any subsequent offenses out of his or her salary.
In his statement, Gohmert said the committee denied his appeal in a 5-5 vote along party lines when a majority is required to overturn the fine.
“Multiple witnesses watched Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi avoid metal detectors and avoid being wanded when she entered the House floor that same day that I did go through the metal detector to enter the House floor but was not wanded coming out of the restroom,” Gohmert said in the statement. “If this is not corrected in a courtroom, then House members of both parties will be subject to the tyranny of a partisan, zealot speaker for the rest of Congress’ existence.”
When he was issued the fine, Gohmert said he considered the metal detector policy unconstitutional and that he’s complied with the policy for weeks. On Feb. 4, he said he complied with the rule to enter the House session, and he then went to the restroom before the debate.
“At no time until yesterday did anyone mention the need to be wanded after entering the restroom directly in front of the guards,” Gohmert said in his statement issued in February. “The three main entrances have metal detectors, but the House floor entrance from the speaker’s lobby does not. Originally, I had gone around the metal detectors a few times until it was mandated. I have been complying for weeks since.”
Gohmert said he was surprised to see that he was fined.
“Unlike in the movie ‘The Godfather,’ there are no toilets with tanks where one could hide a gun, so my reentry onto the House floor should have been a non-issue,” he said.
He cited Article 1, Section 6 of the U.S. Constitution stating that members of Congress cannot be detained on the way to or from a session of the House.