“Article I, Section VI, of the U.S. Constitution mandates that a Member of Congress cannot be detained on the way to the House Chamber for a session and it is even more important that Members not be intentionally impeded from voting on behalf of the over 700,000 constituents we represent,” Gohmert said in a June 14 statement.
“In addition, the 27th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution forbids withholding or amending compensation for a Member in the same congressional session. The Chief Administrative Officer of the House seeks to illegally withhold funds from my salary because of the Speaker’s desire to manipulate and hold Members of Congress hostage to her whims, especially Members of the opposing party.”
The suit filed by Gohmert and Clyde in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia names House Sergeant-at-Arms William Walker and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Catherine Spzindor.
The Senate doesn’t have a similar requirement that senators pass through metal detectors before going on the Senate floor.
Ken Cuccinelli, former deputy secretary of the Deputy of Homeland Security and former Virginia attorney general, represents the two Republican representatives in the suit.
The suit was occasioned by fines levied by Pelosi against the two conservative Republicans earlier this year for allegedly refusing to pass through metal detectors placed just outside the House Chamber following the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol.
House Resolution 73 was passed on Feb. 2 and imposed a $5,000 fine for a first violation and $10,000 for each additional violation. Gohmert and Clyde were both assessed for multiple violations.
The two congressmen appealed the fines to the House Ethics Committee, but Clyde’s appeal was rejected on April 11 and he was directed to pay $15,000. Gohmert’s appeal was rejected on March 30 and he was directed to pay $5,000. The CAO will deduct the fines from the two members’ paychecks if they decline to pay the required amounts voluntarily.
In their suit, the two Republicans point to multiple instances of House Democrats also failing to pass through the metal detectors before entering the House Chamber and not receiving fines.
Pelosi is the first of four Democrats thus cited in the suit, along with Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), and Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.).
Clyde posted on Twitter a video of Pelosi’s April 23 violations.
Waters is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Raskin is a prominent member of the House Judiciary Committee and served as lead manager of the House Impeachment Team against President Donald Trump in January, and Velázquez is chairman of the House Committee on Small Business and the former chairman of the House Hispanic Caucus.
Clyde and Gohmert claim in their suit that “Speaker Pelosi has instituted an unconstitutional policy of enforcing the screening rule against members of the Republican minority in the House of Representatives and exempting members of the Democratic majority from its enforcement, resulting in only Republican members being fined and having their congressional salaries reduced, all for the purpose of creating a false narrative for the political benefit of House Democratic Majority.”
Pelosi claimed during a Jan. 29 news conference concerning the Jan. 6 incursion that “the enemy is within the House of Representatives.” She apparently was referring to Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who has a carry permit recognized by the District of Columbia and which she says allows her to have a firearm in her possession wherever she goes.
Pelosi was also apparently referring to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who, prior to being elected to Congress in November 2020, allegedly “liked” a Facebook post that included threats of violence against Pelosi and other members of Congress.
Clyde said in a June 14 statement that he “will not be deterred by the Speaker’s political posturing and abuse of power” following the Jan. 6 events.
“Even in the face of this egregious treatment of members of the Republican conference, I respectfully worked with the House Ethics Committee to appeal these fines and resolve this issue cordially and professionally, as did many of my Republican colleagues. Unfortunately, the Committee’s Democratic wing has chosen a partisan and prejudiced path in its review process,” Clyde said in the statement.
“While I applaud Ethics Committee Republicans for opposing this unconstitutional rule in every appeal they have considered to date, it has been interesting to watch the Sergeant at Arms fail to issue a fine to the Speaker after incontrovertible video evidence showed she violated her own rules.
“It has been even more interesting to witness Ethics Committee Democrats pardon their own Whip, Jim Clyburn [D-S.C.], for his violation, in a biased, rubber stamped flip-flop. The flagrantly unequal treatment and targeting of Republican members is hypocritical and sets a dangerous precedent.”
Pelosi hasn’t issued a comment on the suit.
Congressional correspondent Mark Tapscott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.