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Greene and Clyde Rack Up Fines for Defying House’s Mask Mandate

WASHINGTON — Throughout a current marathon session within the Home, two Republican lawmakers from Georgia sat in full view of tv cameras. Neither was sporting a masks.

It was the most recent act of defiance by the pair, Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Andrew Clyde, in opposition to a rule requiring legislators to put on masks on the Home ground. Most Republican lawmakers, nevertheless grudgingly, have complied with the mandate, which may carry fines that rapidly add as much as hefty quantities. However Ms. Greene and Mr. Clyde have repeatedly, and proudly, flouted it.

Up to now, the 2 have incurred greater than $100,000 mixed in fines, that are taken instantly from their paychecks.

A decision authorised by the Home in January says that members will likely be fined $500 the primary time they fail to put on a masks on the Home ground, and $2,500 for subsequent violations. The Home Ethics Committee notes every nice in a information launch, however Ms. Greene’s and Mr. Clyde’s violations had been so quite a few that the panel started asserting theirs in bunches.

Ms. Greene, who has stated she is unvaccinated, known as the masks requirement “communist,” “tyrannical” and “authoritarian.”

“The American folks have had sufficient and are standing up in opposition to these outrageous and unconstitutional insurance policies,” she stated in a press release.

Ms. Greene has been fined greater than 30 instances for violating the masks guidelines, accumulating greater than $80,000 in penalties, based on her workplace. She was fined 5 days in a row throughout one stretch this fall.

Solely 20 of Ms. Greene’s fines, totaling almost $50,000, have been introduced by the Ethics Committee. (Home procedures and appeals can delay bulletins by as much as two months.)

Mr. Clyde has been fined not less than 14 instances for violating the masks rule, accruing not less than $30,000 in penalties.

In contesting his fines, Mr. Clyde has accused the Home and the sergeant-at-arms, who enforces the penalties, of a “deeply troubling” apply of “selective enforcement.”

Consultant Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican who has additionally been fined, steered that Mr. Clyde had discovered a manner round paying the penalties. Mr. Massie instructed CNN that Mr. Clyde had modified his payroll withholdings in order that he was paid solely $1 a month.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Clyde didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Different Republicans who’ve been fined not less than as soon as for not sporting a masks on the Home ground embrace Bob Good of Virginia, Brian Mast of Florida, Mary Miller of Illinois, Beth Van Duyne of Texas, Chip Roy of Texas, Ralph Norman of South Carolina and Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa.

Mr. Massie, Ms. Greene and Mr. Norman have filed a federal lawsuit in Washington in opposition to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, searching for a decide’s order to strike down the fines as unconstitutional. The swimsuit accuses Ms. Pelosi of utilizing the mandate “as a cudgel” to dock the pay of her “political opponents.”

It argues that the Home might nice members for disorderly conduct, however that the Republicans don’t consider refusing to put on a masks falls into that class.

“Merely coming into the Home chamber and not using a masks,” the swimsuit says, “didn’t represent ‘disorderly conduct’ as a result of it didn’t disrupt the Home’s operations or good order, neither is it in any other case illegal conduct.”

Ms. Pelosi has stated the masks rule helps shield lawmakers and employees members from a “horrible epidemic that has induced struggling and loss of life on a scale not seen on this nation because the 1918 influenza pandemic.”

In a court docket submitting, Douglas N. Letter, the Home’s basic counsel, famous that one member of Congress, Consultant Ron Wright, Republican of Texas, and a representative-elect, Luke Letlow, Republican of Louisiana, died after contracting the virus.

Mr. Letter stated that issuing fines for refusing to put on a masks fell squarely throughout the Home’s constitutional powers to “govern its personal chamber proceedings and to self-discipline its personal members.”

“That is notably true right here,” he wrote, “the place the decision at concern is designed to guard the well being of members and employees within the place the place all full Home debates and votes happen.”

These arguments appeared to search out assist in court docket this month, as a federal decide expressed skepticism concerning the deserves of the swimsuit.

A Home rule requiring members to go via a metallic detector earlier than coming into the chamber has additionally resulted in violations.

That rule was enacted after a pro-Trump mob attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 and Ms. Pelosi pushed for enhanced safety. A primary violation carries a $5,000 nice, adopted by $10,000 for subsequent violations.

Mr. Clyde and 7 different Republicans have been fined for violating the metallic detector rule, as was Consultant James E. Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina.

The penalties in opposition to Mr. Clyburn and 5 of the Republicans had been dismissed on enchantment.

However the fines in opposition to Mr. Clyde — two totaling $15,000 — and the opposite Republicans, Louie Gohmert of Texas and Lloyd Smucker of Pennsylvania, had been upheld.

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