After the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, there was some concern that insurrectionists may have had help from people inside Congress. There were reports of 'reconnaissance tours' given in the days preceding the incident.
As one of many new precautions installed after that day, metal detectors were placed at the entrances to the Capitol Building by the Capitol police. All members of Congress are required to go through them.
Some Republican lawmakers made a show of refusing to comply with the Capitol police. After several harassed police and skirted around the detectors, Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of California chose to impose a fine on lawmakers who do so.
To this end, on Friday, Republican Representatives Louie Gohmert of Texas and Andrew Clyde of Georgia were each hit with $5,000 fines.
Representative Gohmert had this to say in response:
"Yesterday, after complying with the metal detector screening, I was allowed to enter the House session where debate was occurring. 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."
He went on to try to explain it was a misunderstanding.
"At no time until yesterday did anyone mention the need to be wanded after entering the restroom directly in front of the guards. The three main entrances have metal detectors, but the House floor entrance from the Speakers' Lobby does not. Originally I had gone around the metal detectors a few times until it was mandated. I have been complying for weeks since."
And closed by deflecting blame to the Capitol police for not properly explaining the rules.
"I explained to the Capitol Police officer that I had never been required to be screened again from the restroom immediately by the House floor since the metal detectors had been in place at the other doors. I said they had witnessed me walk the few feet to the men's room, enter and take the few steps back. No one ever mentioned or made that a requirement until yesterday."
According to Speaker Pelosi's new rules, the first offense carries a fine of $5,000 and each offense after carries a fine of $10,000.
Some openly mused about how long it would take for the fines to rack up.
@briantylercohen Bets on how long it’ll take them to be fined $10,000?— Matt_🤷🏻♂️ (@Matt_🤷🏻♂️) 1612563762.0
@MattySancho @briantylercohen And they're crowdfunding for the next bypass...— 🦊 Auro D. Hikoshi 🦊 (@🦊 Auro D. Hikoshi 🦊) 1612563812.0
@MattySancho @briantylercohen Mark me down for 2/8.— Kaonashi (@Kaonashi) 1612565200.0
Some wondered where the money from the fines goes.
@briantylercohen Good! Curious where the money from fines will go.— Cindy Acuff (@Cindy Acuff) 1612563793.0
@ElectronJ2 @briantylercohen Okay but we still pay tax dollars it's not like our taxes are being lowered so what di… https://t.co/BRZcdSxekU— Lois Lane (@Lois Lane) 1612564120.0
Per federal law, unused budgeted funds are returned to the United States Treasury general fund.
Whether the fines eliminate the harassing and non-compliance with Capitol police remains to be seen.