In light of the footage released today showing Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York pulling the fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building on September 30, 2023, and his guilty plea, FACT’s Executive Director Kendra Arnold released the following statement: “Two weeks ago, FACT filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) and today Rep. Bowman pled guilty to knowingly pulling the fire alarm. The facts are now clear. Along with his guilty plea, the video released today clearly shows Bowman’s actions were completely inconsistent with his prior statement that he ‘activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door.’ The video shows Bowman removing the signs from the door and then pulling the fire alarm as he was walking away from the door—he did NOT attempt to exit the building after pulling the alarm. The video and his guilty plea clearly demonstrate the story he told was an attempt to cover up his actions. “Now that the facts are known and Bowman’s excuses have been disproven, the issue is what happens next. Bowman’s actions are not only a criminal offense but also an ethics violation. If a Member commits a crime while acting in his official capacity, this is a violation of the Ethics Code and is not conduct ‘reflecting credibility on the House’ (House Rule 23, clause 1). Clearly when a criminal offense is committed and brazen dishonesty is displayed, a Member’s conduct does not satisfy this ethics rule. In fact, a House resolution requires action by the House Ethics Committee whenever a Member is charged with felony or misdemeanor criminal conduct. In this case, the criminal conduct has not just been charged but guilt has been established in court proceedings. Not only must the Office of Congressional Ethics and House Ethics Committee act and enforce the ethics rules, but they must also impose a serious punishment to deter this type of behavior in the future.”
FACT also sent a new letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics, which you can read here.