Representative Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) pulled rank to try to get out of a parking ticket this month, Politico reported. Gohmert parked outside of the Lincoln Memorial in a spot reserved for National Parks Service (NPS) vehicles, and the Park Police left him a ticket. Gohmert "ranted" that he is on the committee that oversees the NPS and that his congressional license plate (displayed on the dashboard) entitled him to park there before giving the ticket back to the officer and leaving a note.
Gohmert's representative said that he was taking his stepsister and her husband to the memorial after dinner, and that he was allowed to use the plates' privileges "as required." Actually, Washington, D.C. law stipulates that lawmakers may park in "any available curb space" when they are on "official business" as long as they don't block loading zones or fire hydrants.
It doesn't matter whether a reserved spot counts as an available space because Gohmert was not on official business. Gohmert is a member of the Tea Party Caucus, a group that consistently advocates for a smaller federal government and promotes personal responsibility. With this action, Gohmert shows he doesn't really stand for those beliefs in his personal life. He didn't take the time to educate himself on the rules surrounding the congressional plate, and when Park Police gave him the ticket, according to multiple officers, he was extremely rude before giving the ticket back, saying that he "did not have time to deal with the issue," which we now know to be false.
The fine for disobeying a sign is $25, but the issue is not that the D.C. government is now deprived of that revenue, or that an NPS vehicle couldn't park thanks to Gohmert. He was only in the space for 15 minutes.
The issue is that it reveals yet another politician who doesn't act with the humility necessary to act with grace when in a position of power. Especially given his Tea Party affiliation, Gohmert's first instinct shouldn't be to overstep the rules for personal gain. It points to the fact that even many of those who get involved in the political process to shrink or reform government are just as interested, if not more, in personal gain.
The police can seek further action for Gohmert for refusing to pay a lawful fine, but perhaps more importantly, the people of his district should ask themselves if this is who they want representing them in Congress.