House Ethics Committee drops its investigation of Rep. Jamaal Bowman

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WASHINGTON — The House Ethics Committee is not pursuing an investigation of Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., for pulling a fire alarm in the Capitol complex in September, citing the House’s formal censure of him last month.

Bowman has long maintained that he did not intend to set off the alarm and was simply trying to open a door that was locked on a Saturday when the House was called to vote on a bill to avert a government shutdown. He pleaded guilty to pulling the alarm in D.C. Superior Court in October and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and write an apology letter to the U.S. Capitol Police chief.

Since the House voted to censure Bowman for pulling the fire alarm last month, the committee determined that “further review of Representative Bowman’s conduct would be moot,” committee Chairman Michael Guest, R-Miss., and ranking member Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., said in a statement.

Guest and Wild also said the committee confirmed that Bowman had complied with the relevant terms of his deferred sentencing agreement.

Bowman’s guilty plea was withdrawn Thursday in D.C. Superior Court and the charges were dismissed under the conditions of the deal he struck with prosecutors last year. Court records show his fine was paid on Jan. 10.

The House voted 214-191 to censure Bowman in early December. It was a mostly party-line vote, with Democratic Reps. Chris Pappas of New Hampshire, Jahana Hayes of Connecticut and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington joining nearly all other Republicans in voting yes (one Republican, Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland, voted present instead of casting a yes or no vote).

In a letter to his colleagues asking them to vote no on the censure resolution obtained by NBC News at the time, Bowman wrote, “Unfortunately, during and after the fire alarm incident, communication was difficult for legal reasons. To be clear, I was simply trying to vote urgently amidst the chaos of that day and help prevent a government shutdown. There was absolutely no intent to create any issues. I’ve taken full accountability for my actions and apologized to everyone involved and directly to the Capitol Police.”

He later added that the censure vote was “a Republican attempt to continue chaos that they hope will disguise their incompetence.”

Bowman’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Ethics Committee’s decision.

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