Ethics Panel Won't Pursue House Fire Alarm Case

Rep. Jamaal Bowman has said setting off the alarm was an accident
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 25, 2023 6:55 PM CDT
Updated Nov 22, 2023 4:56 PM CST
Bowman Charged With Pulling House Fire Alarm
Rep. Jamaal Bowman is seen during an event at SUNY Westchester Community College, May 10, 2023, in Valhalla, NY.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
UPDATE Nov 22, 2023 4:56 PM CST

The all-clear has sounded in the House for Rep. Jamaal Bowman, a Democrat who pulled a fire alarm during a vote in September. The Ethics Committee announced Wednesday that it won't start an investigation or issue a report to the rest of the chamber, Politico reports. A statement from the panel said a majority didn't agree to taking either step. Unlike other committees, Ethics is evenly split between Republican and Democratic members.

Oct 25, 2023 6:55 PM CDT

Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman was charged Wednesday with a misdemeanor for triggering a fire alarm as lawmakers scrambled to pass a funding bill before a government shutdown deadline in September. The New York lawmaker acknowledged pulling the alarm, telling reporters hours later that it was a mistake, the AP reports. He said he was rushing to get to votes and trying to get through a door that is usually open. At the time of the evacuation, House Democrats were working to delay a vote on a funding bill to keep federal agencies open. They had said they needed time to review a bill that Republicans abruptly released to avoid a shutdown

"I want to be very clear: this was not me, in any way, trying to delay any vote," Bowman told reporters. "It was the exact opposite—I was trying urgently to get to a vote." He has been ordered to appear at DC Superior Court for his arraignment Thursday morning, CBS News reports. Bowman's office said Wednesday that he had reached an agreement with the DC attorney general for the charge to be withdrawn in three months if apologizes to Capitol Police, the Hill reports. He will also be required to pay a $1,000 fine.

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In a statement, Bowman thanked the AG's office for the "quick resolution" and said he was glad that the Capitol force's general counsel's office "agreed I did not obstruct nor intend to obstruct any House vote or proceedings." He added: "I am responsible for activating a fire alarm, I will be paying the fine issued, and look forward to these charges being ultimately dropped." (More Jamaal Bowman stories.)

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