House Ethics Committee Clears Jamaal Bowman In Fire Alarm Incident

The House Ethics Committee will not be pursuing an investigation into Democratic New York Representative Jamaal Bowman over his fire alarm prank that caused a delay in a House vote on a stopgap government funding bill in September.

Last month, Bowman faced misdemeanor charges from the D.C. Attorney General over the fire alarm incident, which triggered the Ethics panel’s standard procedure for investigating a lawmaker.

However, the committee, composed of an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, voted not to establish an investigative subpanel or submit a report to the full House.

“A majority of the House Ethics Committee members did not agree to establish an Investigative Subcommittee (ISC) or report to the House regarding Representative Bowman’s conduct,” a press release by the committee read.

This decision adheres to Committee Rule 10(a), which dictates that the establishment of an ISC and a report to the House regarding a Member’s conduct both require an affirmative vote from a majority of the Committee’s Members.

On Sept. 30, Bowman pulled a fire alarm just prior to a House vote on a temporary government funding package designed to avert a government shutdown. In acknowledgment of his actions, he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge and accepted a $1,000 fine as part of an agreement with DC Attorney General Brian Schwalb that would see the charges dismissed after three months.

However, he has denied intentionally trying to sabotage the vote.

After his plea was announced, Bowman said in a statement, “I’m thankful for the quick resolution from the D.C. Attorney General’s office on this issue and grateful that the United States Capitol Police General Counsel’s office agreed I did not obstruct nor intend to instruct any House vote or proceedings.”

He cited emergency exit signs as the reason behind his decision to pull the fire alarm in the Cannon office building. However, security camera footage contradicted his claim, showing that he removed the signs before triggering the fire alarm and then fled the scene without attempting to open the exit door.

A Capitol Police investigator also determined that there was “probable cause to believe” he “willingly or knowingly” pulled the false alarm prank.