Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX) has said he will seek to appeal a $5,000 fine he was assessed for flouting screening by metal detectors before returning to House chamber on Thursday.
“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,” Gohmert said in a statement Friday night.
A senior Democratic aide had relayed news of the violation after the House voted in favor of a Democratic-led measure to impose fines that would deduct $5,000 from the salaries of members of Congress who refuse screening by metal detectors outside some doors of the House chamber.
Repeated attempts to circumvent security screening could yield fines of $10,000. Gohmert and Rep. Andrew Clyde (GA) appear to be the first lawmakers to be assessed for the fines following approval of the new rule earlier this week.
In the Friday statement Gohmert vowed to appeal after being slapped with the fine, saying he had first complied with the screening, but after leaving the House floor to use the restroom declined being “wanded” upon re-entry.
“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,” Gohmert wrote, adding: “I will be appealing the fine and taking whatever action is necessary, especially considering this policy is unconstitutional.”
Gohmert’s fury comes as House Republicans have increasingly pushed back on reinforced safety measures in the wake of the deadly Capitol riot last month.
On Friday, Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) joined by 41 House Republicans, issued a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) urging for the removal of fencing around the Capitol that was installed in preparation for President Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20. Reports have indicated that the fencing could be permanent, but Budd and his group of GOP colleagues have pushed back on the measure which they say will turn the Capitol into a “permanent fortress.”
In a statement after Tuesday’s vote to approve the hefty fines for skipping the detectors, Pelosi chastised GOP colleagues who she said “began disrespecting our heroes by refusing to adhere to basic precautions keeping members of our Congressional community safe — including by dodging metal detectors, physically pushing past police, and even attempting to bring firearms into the chamber.”
“It is beyond comprehension why any Member would refuse to adhere to these simple, common-sense steps to keep this body safe,” Pelosi said at the time.