CREW Calls on OCE to Investigate Rep. Gohmert for Pulling Rank to Avoid Parking Ticket
Washington, D.C. — Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics against Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) for conduct that reflects discreditably upon the House.
According to a report in Politico, on March 13, 2013, shortly after 11:00 p.m., Rep. Gohmert was issued a citation for parking his black Ford SUV in a spot reserved for National Park Service vehicles. Rep. Gohmert removed the ticket from his windshield and placed it on a police car along with his business card. He included the written message: “Oversight of Park Service is my job! Natural Resources Thus the Congressional Plate in window.” According to officers at the scene, Rep. Gohmert was “rude and irate,” and “ranting.” Further, Rep. Gohmert told an officer he “did not have time to deal with the issue,” and said to officers, “I left my business card with the ticket and I am not paying for the ticket.”
CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan stated, “Rep. Gohmert’s sense of entitlement to special treatment is astonishing. By abusing his position as a member of Congress to yell at police officers and try and get out of a parking ticket, Rep. Gohmert engaged in conduct that reflects discreditably upon the House. No wonder the public prefers cockroaches to members of Congress.”
Under District of Columbia law, members of Congress may park their vehicles in any available curb space when used by the member of Congress on official business. Members may not park in spots reserved specifically for National Park Service vehicles.
In considering Sen. Larry Craig’s (R-ID) conduct following his June 11, 2007 arrest, the Senate Ethics Committee found that by showing the arresting officer a business card, identifying himself as a senator, and asking the officer what he thought about that, Sen. Craig had improperly attempted to use his position to receive special and favorable treatment. Similarly, the House Ethics Committee found Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) had demonstrated poor judgment and implicated the reputation of the House by getting into an altercation with an airline employee.
Ms. Sloan continued, “Rep. Gohmert’s attempt to justify his late-night illegal parking by claiming he was engaged in official oversight of National Park Service resources is ludicrous. The congressman clearly thinks he deserves special treatment, so the House should oblige him by treating him to one of its rare ethics investigations.”