NEWS & ANALYSIS

House Republicans Request First Hearing with Capitol Police Board Since 1945


Republican lawmakers in the House Administration Committee requested the first hearing with the Capitol Police Board to discuss what went awry with security leading up to the Capitol riot on January 6. 

A hearing of this kind would be the first one in almost 80 years: since 1945, to be exact. 

“The events of January 6th highlighted significant problems with the [board’s] structure and responsibilities,” Reps. Rodney Davis (IL), Barry Loudermilk (GA) and Bryan Steil (WI) wrote in a letter Thursday to House Administration Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). 

The letter added that the board’s “structure is flawed, leading to slow reactions to crises and politically driven decision making.” 

As reported by The Hill, ex-Capitol Police chief Steven Sund said that he asked both former House and Senate sergeant-at-arms prior to January 6 for permission to place D.C. National Guard on standby to help control the anticipated crowd.

Sund said both rejected his request, with Paul Irving, the House sergeant-at-arms at the time, saying he wasn’t comfortable with the “optics” of making an early emergency declaration. 

Meanwhile, Architect of the Capitol J. Brett Blanton, who was nominated by President Trump, said he was not aware of Sund’s request. 

“When warranted, the [board] has the serious responsibility to make the decision to declare an emergency, a determination required to authorize the USCP Chief to call in the National Guard. However, on January 6th, the [board’s] bureaucratic structure and partisan membership crippled its rapid response capabilities and decision-making abilities, and the United States Capitol Complex remained in chaos and without National Guard assistance for hours,” Davis, Loudermilk and Steil wrote in their letter. 

Both Irving and the Senate sergeant-at-arms Michael Stenger stepped down from their positions following the riot. 

Last month, House Administration Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren said at a hearing with Capitol Police inspector general Michael Bolton that the structure of the Capitol Police Board “needs to be reviewed.” 

Lofgren said Friday that Bolton’s latest report, which focused in on threat assessment and counter-surveillance operations, “identified troubling deficiencies” within the force.