The Republican-led House Ethics Committee is giving Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman a pass.
The committee indicated this week it lacked the votes to appoint a group to look into the Sept. 30 incident in which the New York Democrat — a member of the progressive “squad” — set off a fire alarm as lawmakers prepared to vote on a critical bill to prevent a government shutdown.
“A majority of the Members of the Committee did not agree to establish an [investigative subcommittee] or report to the House regarding Representative Bowman’s conduct,” a brief statement by the committee chairman, Mississippi Republican Michael Guest.
The ethics committee, which consists of five Republicans and five Democrats, had 30 days to decide on the investigation following Bowman’s being charged.
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) November 22, 2023
Bowman, whose social media account identifies him as a former middle-school principal, initially claimed ignorance in the incident. After photos were released showing him pulling the alarm, he first said he had been confused about the mechanism and that he thought the handle marked “FIRE” would open the doors to the Cannon House Office Building.
NEW: Bowman spox Emma Simon on him pulling the fire alarm.
“Congressman Bowman did not realize he would trigger a building alarm as he was rushing to make an urgent vote. The Congressman regrets any confusion.”
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) September 30, 2023
Video was later released that contradicted that story. Security footage showed Bowman removing warning signs from the exit doors, then walking back to the fire alarm and pulling the handle before walking away.
He later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of falsely pulling a fire alarm. He could have received up to six months in jail, but received a plea deal requiring him to pay a $1,000 fine and apologize in writing to Capitol Police.
That light punishment caused Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida to scoff, “What, are we in seventh grade?”
Donalds compared Bowman’s situation to some of the people who entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and received severe penalties for doing little more than taking selfies in the building.
“Let me get something straight: Jan. 6 was a terrible day. It was terrible. I was here, I was on the House Floor. There were people who did things that I think they should not have done. I’ve said that from day one,” he said.
“There were also other people, when the doors were open, right, wrong, or indifferent, they walked into the building. They were given what? Two years, three years, four years? And my colleague has to write a letter?” Donalds said.
Bowman’s move had been criticized by many conservative lawmakers, who called for his censure or expulsion the Washington Times reported.
GOP Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of New York introduced a resolution with 16 cosponsors to expel Bowman from Congress, “but it has not been taken up by House leadership,” the Times reported.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.