Did Minnesota’s Newly Elected Democrats Already Violate House Rules?

Minnesota’s newly elected members of Congress are in Washington for their new-member orientation, but some reports indicate that the freshmen members are already violating House rules.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reported Wednesday that a group of New Jersey’s new members tweeted a picture of themselves from the House floor, captioning the photo with “New Jersey in the House!”

But in 2017, the U.S. House passed new rules prohibiting members of Congress from using electronic devices to take pictures or video of themselves from the House floor, according to The Boston Globe. Violation of the rule can result in a $500 fine for the first offense, and a $2,500 fine for every violation thereafter.

The rule was passed by the Republican-controlled House in response to the 2016 gun-control sit-in staged by Democratic members of Congress, which was live-streamed from the House floor. The sit-in was widely criticized by Republicans, who believed that the Democrats were hindering a bipartisan response to the issue.

On Wednesday, Congressman-elect Dean Phillips (D-MN-03) tweeted a picture of himself from the House floor, saying he is “humbled, honored, and joyful to be on the House floor for the first time as a Congressman-elect.”

“While great challenges await, the early spirit of collegiality and conversation amongst newly elected Democrats and Republicans make me hopeful about the future. Onwards!” wrote Phillips, who unseated Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03) last Tuesday.

Congresswoman-elect Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) also posted a photo to Twitter from the House floor Tuesday.

“Started from the bottom, now we’re here,” she wrote, posting a picture of herself standing alongside a group of fellow Democrats.

According to the 2017 rule, the “Sergeant-at-Arms is authorized and directed to impose a fine against a Member, Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner for the use of an electronic device for still photography or for audio or visual recording or broadcasting.”

Some Democrats, such as Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA-02), criticized the rule as “draconian” and a violation of “freedom of expression.”

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].







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