Republican Reps. Louie Gohmert and Andrew Clyde each face a $5,000 fine for skipping metal detectors.
Gohmert of Texas and Clyde of Georgia evaded the metal detectors while entering the House chamber Thursday, according to a senior Democratic aide.
In a statement, Gohmert said the incident occurred after he left the House floor to use the restroom.
“Yesterday, after complying with the metal detector screening, I was allowed to enter the House session where debate was occurring,” Gohmert said in a statement.”Knowing that I would soon be giving a speech, I stepped off the House floor to use the restroom right beside the speaker’s lobby as I have done many times since the metal detectors have been installed.”
“Unlike the movie The Godfather, there are no toilets with tanks where one could hide a gun, so my re-entry should have been a non-issue,” Gohmert added.
Gohmert also called the policy “unconstitutional” and said he plans to appeal the fine.
Clyde similarly said the new rule was illegal, and he plans to appeal.
The fine can be appealed to the House ethics committee, but if the panel upholds the fine it is deducted out of lawmakers’ paychecks.
The sergeant-at-arms issued the fines based on the lawmakers’ vote Tuesday night to establish the rule change in the wake of the US Capitol riot on Jan. 6 during which a pro-Trump mob breached security during a joint session to certify Electoral College votes, leaving five people dead.
“It is sad that we have been forced to move forward with a rule change imposing fines on those who refuse to abide by these protections, but the People’s House must and will be safe, so that we can honor our responsibility to do the People’s work,” House Speaker Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement on the vote.
The $5,000 fine is for a first offense with a $10,000 fine established under the rule change for a second.