The House Ethics Committee voted Tuesday to uphold a $5,000 fine issued to Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas for allegedly bypassing metal detectors outside the House chamber last month in violation of security protocols.
Gohmert was one of the first House lawmakers to be fined since Congress approved rules to penalize anyone who refused to pass through magnetometers installed following the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. The Texas congressman formally appealed the fine on Feb. 26.
The committee said a majority of its members opted to reject Gohmert’s challenge. Gohmert’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Under House rules, lawmakers are fined $5,000 for a first offense and $10,000 for a second offense. Fines cannot be paid with campaign or office budget funds.
Congress adopted a number of safety measures after lawmakers were forced to flee from chambers when rioters breached the Capitol. The changes drew some pushback from GOP lawmakers who argued they were adopted by Democratic leadership without adequate notice or consultation with Republicans.
Gohmert ripped House Democrats last month over his metal detector fine, arguing that he had complied with the “unconstitutional” policy for weeks. He said that he had already passed through metal detectors earlier in the day and had only left the floor to use the restroom.
“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 said at the time.