A liberal-leaning government watchdog group is calling for an Office of Congressional Ethics investigation into Rep. Louie Gohmert after the Republican congressman refused to accept a parking ticket in Washington, D.C.
“Rep. Gohmert’s sense of entitlement to special treatment is astonishing,” said Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, in a statement. “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.”
On Wednesday, the Politico website published details of Gohmert’s March 13th exchange with a U.S. Park Police officer outside the Lincoln Memorial after cops placed a ticket in the windshield of the congressman’s black Ford SUV. Park Police say Gohmert was illegally parked in a space reserved for National Park Service vehicles.
“Oversight of Park Service is my job! Natural Resources Thus the Congressional Plate in window,” read a message from Gohmert, which he placed in the windshield of a police vehicle, along with the ticket and his business card.
When confronted by a nearby cop, Gohmert told the officer that he was permitted to park in the NPS spot because he was a member of Congress, a fact illustrated by the congressional plate in his front window.
The Texas congressman was “rude,” “irate,” and “ranting” according to police, reported Politico.
The congressman’s office and the Park Police are seemingly at odds about whether the congressman could actually use the NPS space, with Gohmert’s spokeswoman insisting that official business permitted him to use the space. Park Police disagree.
CREW sent a letter Thursday demanding a congressional investigation into Gohmert’s behavior, comparing it to that of former Sen. Larry Craig, who was arrested in 2007 for soliciting sex in a men’s restroom. Craig reportedly handed the arresting officer his business card and asked, “What do you think about that?”
“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,” CREW wrote in a statement.