House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., could be the first Democratic lawmaker to face a fine for bypassing metal detectors at the Capitol, according to a report Wednesday.
Clyburn is alleged to have bypassed metal detectors outside the House chamber after using a nearby bathroom during a vote on Tuesday, Politico reported, citing sources with knowledge of the matter. Capitol Police referred the incident to House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett, who has the final say on whether Clyburn will receive a $5,000 fine.
The congressman initially passed through security when entering the chamber. After casting a vote on the House floor, Clyburn left the chamber to use the bathroom. When re-entering the chamber, Clyburn purportedly bypassed the magnetometer. A source told Politico that the entire sequence occurred in less than 10 minutes and noted that Clyburn did not refuse any directives from Capitol Police.
“Congressman Clyburn respects the rules of the chamber and he disputes the characterization of this incident,” a representative for Clyburn said in a statement.
The House instituted enhanced security measures following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and passed a measure instituting fines for any lawmaker who bypasses the metal detectors. Under the rules, lawmakers are fined $5,000 for a first offense and $10,000 for a second offense.
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Clyburn’s incident was similar to one involving Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, who was fined $5,000 in February after he left the House floor to use the same bathroom. Politico noted that Gohmert was asked to pass through metal detectors a second time while attempting to re-enter the House floor, while Clyburn was not.
The House Ethics Committee rejected Gohmert’s appeal of the fine last month. Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky and Andrew Clyde of Georgia, both Republicans, were also fined under the metal detector rules.