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Tags: troy nehls | pelosi | manger | capitol police | democrats

GOP Congressman Says Capitol Police Illegally Entered His Office, Took Photos

Troy Nehls
Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Texas. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 08 February 2022 04:36 PM EST

Republican Texas Rep. Troy Nehls said Tuesday that Capitol Police officers illegally entered his office on Capitol Hill and took photographs as part of an investigation into his legislative work.

"This goes much deeper than an unethical entry into my office by Capitol police," Nehls said in a statement Tuesday. "This is a violation of Members' right to speech and debate, as well as a 4th Amendment violation. Could you imagine leaving your front door open and police officers enter your private home, take pictures of the inside, and then open an investigation based on those pictures?"

According to Nehls, a Capitol Police officer entered his office on Nov. 20, 2021, after finding his door open.

Instead of making sure the office was "cleared" of any danger and leaving, the officer photographed confidential documents relating to a pro-law enforcement bill Nehls was working on regarding the quality of body armor for police, Nehls' statement said.

Nehls said the agency then "opened an investigation" into the material, passing it up in the chain of command to the intelligence division with a report and analysis identifying the material as "suspicious writings."

He said that the following Monday, Nov. 22, three plain-clothes officers went back to the office and questioned one of Nehls' staff about the photo, which Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger later told Nehls the agency viewed as a "veiled threat" against the Congressman.

"After communicating with Chief Manger, it became clear that my office was under investigation and surveillance by USCP," Nehls said. "We were the 'threat.' If Capitol Police had spent this much time investigating Jan. 6 as they did investigate my private legislative materials, Jan. 6 would not have happened."

In a statement on Nehls accusation Tuesday, Manger called the officer that first entered the office "vigilant" and said he acted correctly by taking photographs to document the incident.

"The United States Capitol Police is sworn to protect Members of Congress. If a member's office is left open and unsecured, without anyone inside the office, USCP officers are directed to document that and secure the office to ensure nobody can wander in and steal or do anything else nefarious," Manger said in the statement. "The weekend before Thanksgiving, one of our vigilant officers spotted the Congressman's door was wide open. That Monday, USCP personnel personally followed up with the Congressman's staff and determined no investigation or further action of any kind was needed. No case investigation was ever initiated or conducted into the Representative or his staff."

The incident, however, has led to a letter sent Tuesday by several GOP lawmakers to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who oversees the agency, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., chairman of the Committee on House Administration, asking about the tactics the Capitol Police are using against Republican lawmakers, and information disclosed in a recent Politico report that the agency is "monitoring" them by documenting the backgrounds of who they are meeting with.

"The recent Politico report that U.S. Capitol Police have been monitoring Members of Congress, their staff, constituents, and supporters raises serious constitutional concerns," the letter said. "We request that the Committee on House Administration immediately open an inquiry into these allegations."

According to the Jan. 24 Politico story, the new tactics come following the protest and riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, with Capitol Police now examining the social media posts, and the backgrounds of people meeting with the lawmakers, although they are not suspected of committing any crimes.

Five people died during and in the immediate aftermath of the protest and riot, including Ashli Babbitt — who was shot and killed by Capitol Police — and officer Brian Sicknick, who suffered a stroke and died the next day.

"Whatever they think that sounds like for security, it sounds dangerously close — if not already over the line — to spying on members of Congress, their staff, their constituents and their supporters," Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., a former criminal defense attorney told Politico. "Anybody involved with implementing this without making it known to the actual members of Congress should resign or be fired immediately, and I’m not big on calling for resignations."

Nehls said he wants an investigation into the matter by the Capitol Police Inspector General, a request he said was accepted by the agency.

"Capitol Police leadership have put a target on my back, but my work in exposing the security failures on Jan. 6, the death of Ms. Babbitt, and the sham investigation into the events of Jan. 6 will not be deterred."

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Republican Texas Rep. Troy Nehls said Tuesday that Capitol Police officers illegally entered his office on Capitol Hill and took photographs as part of an investigation into his legislative work.
troy nehls, pelosi, manger, capitol police, democrats
Tuesday, 08 February 2022 04:36 PM
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