Fines dropped against two lawmakers over metal detectors

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House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Chairman Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 19, 2021, examining Emergent BioSolutions, a Maryland biotech firm whose Baltimore plant ruined millions of doses of the coronavirus vaccine. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Ethics Committee dismissed fines Thursday against two veteran lawmakers who’d been accused of evading weapons screening required before entering the House chamber.

No. 3 House Democratic leader James Clyburn of South Carolina and Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., had both faced $5,000 fines for separate incidents last month.

Clyburn “deliberately avoided being screened” before entering the House chamber, according to a Capitol Police memorandum released by the ethics panel. A separate police report said Rogers had triggered a metal detector and entered the chamber anyway, saying he had to vote.

Each lawmaker had filed a one-page letter disputing the accusations. In two-paragraph responses dated Thursday, the bipartisan committee — with five Democrats and five Republicans — said that “a majority of the Committee agreed” to each appeal. The letters provided no explanations.

Clyburn, 80, and Rogers, 83, are among Congress’ oldest members.

The committee has rejected appeals of similar violations by two other lawmakers, Reps. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., and Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, meaning they would have to pay their fines.

The mandatory searches began this year after the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump. The requirement has been a partisan flashpoint, underscoring tensions and distrust between the two parties since the attack.

Lawmakers are allowed to carry firearms in much of the Capitol and its grounds, but not into the House chamber. The public is not allowed to carry weapons in or around the Capitol.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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