U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert (R - TX) spoke out about the backlash he's been taking over a $25 parking ticket he received earlier this month near the Lincoln Memorial.
The parking spot in question is a curbside one reserved for park workers where Gohmert said he has parked before. He cited his membership on a committee that controls national parks as a reason for frequent trips to inspect conditions at D.C. monuments.
"I'd been told by a park service employee when I was a freshman [representative] 'hey, anywhere the park service can park, a member of congress can park,'" Gohmert said.
Gohmert said he was displaying his official congressional permit and that's why he questioned the ticket that night--first with a note on one of his business cards and then face to face with an U.S. Park Police officer who pulled up.
"I didn't think I was irate," Gohmert said. "But I don't know of anybody, I would think the news is when somebody gets a parking ticket and they're tickled to death."
A Park Police spokesperson said the officer took back the ticket. He also said Gohmert was in the wrong--having no right to park in those reserved spots.
Now a group called the Citizens for Responsibility in Washington has filed a three-page complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics. It accuses the congressman of using his position to avoid a parking ticket. It goes on to say that Gohmert violated a house rule basically requiring members to be on their best behavior.
It also accuses him of being rude to the officer he spoke with that night.
Gohmert said if he's wrong, he'll gladly pay the ticket.
"There are definitely more important issues but it is important that no matter who people are they all be held to the same standard," Gohmert said.
Gohmert also pointed to a Washington D.C. law allowing sitting members of congress to park in any spot in the district.
Washington D.C. Metro Police and the Capital Police were unable to come up with a definitive answer regarding whether Gohmert's reading of the law was correct Thursday.