U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-Pa., has been slapped with a $5,000 fine for deliberately bypassing a metal detector screening in the Capitol while on his way to cast a vote last month. A staff member for the congressman said he plans to appeal the fine.
Instead, Smucker should pay the fine, acknowledge his error in judgment and apologize to the security people whose attempts to get him to pass through the detectors were ignored.
A report by Capitol Police security officers released by the House Ethics Committee said Smucker disregarded two officers who tried to get his attention to complete the screening. He entered the House chamber then returned for the screening after casting a vote.
The security measures were put in place after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and are there for the safety of elected officials such as Smucker as well as the thousands of congressional and support staff who work in the building.
If the Jan. 6 attack taught us nothing else, it showed the need for better and more vigilant security.
The House voted in February to establish the fines — $5,000 for the first offense and $10,000 for a second — after several Republicans refused to comply with the metal detector screenings. Smucker is the sixth House member (and fifth Republican) to be fined for violating the safety protocol, although the fines against Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., and Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., were dropped after appeal to the House Ethics Committee. A bipartisan majority of the 10-member ethics committee must agree to overturn a fine in order for an appeal to succeed.
Stricter security measures have been part of our daily lives even before Jan. 6. We wait in line to pass through security checkpoints at airports, sporting venues and public buildings. The delays are a small price to pay for safety. Attempts like Smucker’s to circumvent safety measures are a slap in the face to the people who are doing their best to protect everyone.
— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette