The incident comes several months after a small group of lawmakers mounted a protest over new security measures added at the Capitol following the Jan. 6 insurrection that forced Congress to evacuate and left 140 police officers injured.
After metal detectors were installed at Capitol entrances the week after the riot, journalists and lawmakers reported seeing several Republican House members — including Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina and Reps. Louie Gohmert, Randy Weber and Van Taylor of Texas — maneuver around the newly installed metal detectors.
Several other members of Congress sped through the machines even as the alarms blared. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) caused a scene in January when she refused to hand over a bag to be searched by Capitol Police after setting off metal detectors while entering the building. And Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) set off a magnetometer near the House chamber that same month while carrying a concealed gun, prompting Capitol Police to launch an investigation.
Democratic Rep. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina was also hit with a $5,000 fine after Capitol Police said he bypassed security in April.
Gohmert and Rep. Andrew S. Clyde (R-Ga.) filed a lawsuit in June alleging the metal detectors are unconstitutional and inhibit legislators’ ability to do their jobs. The suit also described fines for evading security measures as a “means of harassing” Republicans.
Yet many Republicans, including Crenshaw, also called for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to be fined $5,000 in February after they accused her of entering the House chamber without going through the metal detectors.
Concerns over Capitol security have repeatedly come up since the riot. In May, a $1.9 billion proposal to beef up security at the Capitol narrowly passed the House by just one vote, with several Democrats rejecting it and Republicans unanimously balking at the hefty price tag. Meanwhile, a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot issued subpoenas this week to 11 people involved in the planning of the pro-Trump rallies that preceded the insurrection. The committee has also subpoenaed two Trump White House officials, including the former president’s longtime adviser Stephen K. Bannon.
If a member of Congress does not go through security, House Resolution 73 imposes a $5,000 fine for a first offense. Any subsequent violations will cost a legislator $10,000 each. But the resolution also allows the offender to appeal within 30 days of being notified of the fine.
Crenshaw’s first offense allegedly happened on Sept. 23, according to a police memorandum describing the incident, and the congressman received a notification that he had violated the House resolution on Friday. The Ethics Committee was notified of the violation on Monday, according to a news release.
According to the fine notification shared with the Ethics Committee, Capitol Police officers reviewed video footage that showed a man — who was wearing a round pin signifying he was a former member of Congress — bypass security at about 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 23. A Capitol Police officer told the man that he needed to go through security at the House main door before entering the chamber, and he allegedly responded “Okay,” according to the police memo.
But he did not return the security checkpoint, and instead rang the bell on the Republican cloakroom and then entered without being screened by police.
About 10 minutes later, Crenshaw also sidestepped security and entered the Republican cloakroom without being cleared by Capitol Police, according to the memo. Police identified Crenshaw through video footage, police said.
Crenshaw’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the fine late Wednesday.