(FiveNation.com)- Democratic House Majority Whip James Clyburn caused fresh controversy on Tuesday when he was fined $5,000 by the House sergeant at arms for avoiding metal detectors installed after the January 6 riots.
The high-profile House Democrat is the latest to be caught not going through metal detectors at the entrance of the House Floor which is required under security measures put in place under the oversight of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Acting Sergeant at Arms Timothy P. Blodgett wrote in a letter on Wednesday that Clyburn was notified about the incident and the fine and will be given the right to appeal. The letter also included the notice that was sent to Clyburn, in which he was offered 30 calendar days or five legislative days, whichever comes first, to issue the appeal to the Ethics Committee.
He is accused of entering the House Chamber without being screened at metal detectors by a security officer after he returned from the restroom during a vote. The notice claims that he “deliberately avoided being screened by refusing to submit to screening at the West lobby screening point” and then “continued past the officers” to enter onto the House floor.
The security measure is a controversial one, as it slows down legislators who need to attend key votes and sessions, and was only installed after the January 6 riot which ended after a handful of hours. The FBI and other security services also walked back their early claims that attendees of the January 6 riots were intending to kill legislators barely a week after the riot took place.
This confirmation from the FBI, combined with the fact that legislators were never involved in any plots to violently attack colleagues, has caused members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to raise eyebrows about the new security measures.
Clyburn is the first Democrat to be punished for breaking the new rules, with several House Republicans already being fined for avoiding the security screening.
Clyburn’s office told Politico on Wednesday that he “disputes the characterization of this incident” and that he “respects the rules of the chamber” – but no details were provided about his version of the story.
In February, Republicans from the House Administration Committee asked the Sergeant at Arms to fine House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for repeatedly skirting the rules and entering the House Chamber without completing the security screening – but so far, she has faced no fines.