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House investigation finds Jamaal Bowman misled ethics committee

By Stew Davidson
January 27, 2024

The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) has released a 16-page document scrutinizing the actions of Rep. Jamaal Bowman (NY-16) in relation to an incident involving a fire alarm.

Last year, Rep. Bowman asserted that he inadvertently activated a fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building under the belief that it would unlock an exit door.

The lawmaker claimed that he was in haste to attend a House vote, as The Blaze reported.

Findings Contradict Bowman's Account

However, the OCE's findings paint a different picture.

The investigation, which included surveillance footage, depicted Rep. Bowman as purposefully pulling the fire alarm lever without checking if it aided in opening the emergency doors.

After the alarm was activated, Bowman did not attempt to exit through the door but walked away casually.

Furthermore, the report emphasized that at the time of the incident, the House was not in session.

Instead, Rep. Bowman was on his way to an emergency meeting of the Democratic Caucus, not to vote as previously claimed.

Text messages included in the report showed Bowman's awareness of the caucus meeting before he set off the alarm.

That stands in contradiction to his statements about having been rushing to cast a critical vote.

Republicans swiftly accused Bowman of attempting to disrupt congressional s proceedings to provide Democrats with additional time to review a stopgap funding bill, which had been introduced shortly before an upcoming vote.

Democrats had employed certain delay tactics to allow members to thoroughly assess the legislation, ensuring it contained no detrimental provisions or problematic language, as The Hill reported.

Misleading Statements but No Direct Accusation

The OCE did not directly accuse Bowman of intentional deceit. The report stated, "In light of this evidence, the OCE finds the explanation provided by Rep. Bowman's official statement and those published by his staff to be less than credible or otherwise misleading."

No Disciplinary Action by the House Ethics Committee

The House Ethics Committee decided against imposing any disciplinary action on Rep. Bowman. The committee reasoned that such measures would be redundant as the House had previously voted to censure him.

Moreover, Bowman has adhered to a deferred sentencing agreement.

As a part of this agreement, Bowman pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of triggering a false fire alarm.

He was also obligated to pay a $1,000 fine and extend a formal apology to the Capitol Police, actions which facilitated the dismissal of the criminal charge against him.