Congress members will now be permitted to use campaign cash to hire bodyguards, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) ruled Thursday, after hours of debate.
Under the FEC ruling, House and Senate members may use campaign funds to hire private security personnel without violating the prohibition on personal use, for occasions when they aren’t under the protection of Capitol law enforcement on the Hill.
It comes amid heightened concern about the safety of lawmakers amid the tense political climate across the country and the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol building. The Department of Justice said late January that more than 150 people have been charged over the incident.
"In light of current events involving concrete threats of physical violence against Members and their families, Members have been compelled to consider further security measures for themselves and their families," the officials in their letter January. "As has been well-documented in the media, Members and their families continue to endure threats and security breaches, which are being timely reported to appropriate law enforcement officials."
Prior to Thursday’s ruling, the regulator allowed the use of campaign funds for personal security if there was evidence that lawmakers could face specific, immediate threats while carrying out their official duties.
“Threats have an impact,” said Rep. Kevin Hertel (D-Mich.). “You can hear the fear in people’s voices when they talk about these issues.”