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Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is a 47-year-old freshman Congressperson with a colorful personality. Since taking office in January 2021, the staunch Republican has drawn controversy from foes and tolerance from supporters. MTG seems to thrive on the chaos that surrounds her absurdity. One of her passions has been butting heads with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) about the federally mandated mask rules; she and two other representatives filed a civil lawsuit that was decided against them.
Greene refused to wear a mask inside the House chamber despite being fined. Then, she complained about the fines saying she was working for free. Since her first violation cost her $500 in May 2021, she kept adding to her tally at $2,500 for each subsequent offense.
Representatives Greene, Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) appealed to the U.S. House Ethics Committee shortly after being first assessed penalties. They argued that the mandate, put in place by Pelosi 11 months earlier, was no longer valid in light of updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Ethics Committee ruled against them since Dr. Brian Monahan, Congress’ attending physician, addressed the matter in May when he wrote:
[The] mask requirement and other guidelines remain unchanged until all Members and floor staff are fully vaccinated.
These fines are paid through payroll deduction from her annual Congressional salary of $174,000. By January 2022, Greene reported her tab was almost $90,000. Some reports indicate that by the end of December 2021, her fines exceeded $100,000, according to Politicususa.
Marjorie Taylor Greene brags "I take the fines on the House floor. I'm up to almost $90,000 in fines" pic.twitter.com/I39RjjU1eg
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) January 5, 2022
During her anti-Pelosi rules protest, she loudly criticized “communist Democrats” and “tyrannical dictators.” Greene loathes the safety measures put in place to ease the spread of the deadly virus and the people who make and enforce the rules. She vehemently railed against the mandates and lockdowns, according to The Washington Post. Greene explains her self-sacrificing justification for breaking the masking requirement:
I will continue my stand on the House floor against authoritarian Democrat mandates because I don’t want the American people to stand alone.
Representatives Greene, Norman, and Massie filed a lawsuit on July 27, 2021, against Pelosi and others challenging the constitutionality of the House’s COVID-related mandates and fines, according to the Northern Kentucky Tribune.
A couple of days before the ruling was announced, a video recording of Greene complaining about the fines surfaced on Twitter. She talked about her case against the Speaker of the House and complained that she works for Congress for free because they are taking all of her money away when Greene trends on Twitter, thousands of retweets and comments were posted as usual.
Fruckitol wrote: “So, if I get a speeding ticket, I can sue the police for fining me? Cool! There goes the whole personal responsibility thing, huh?” Another user, @vennkatt58, wrote: “Bless your heart. You actually believe the [expletive] you pull everyday is work.” Eric Owens added: “I remember, when I was a Republican, how Republicans respected and stood up for the rule of law.”
She works? How? She has no assignments, right?https://t.co/GcJrzLGqbf
— Carrie Moley (@carrie_moley) March 8, 2022
D.C. District Court Justice Reggie Walton’s decision, written on March 9, 2022, indicated the mask mandate did not violate the First Amendment protections. He further noted that Pelosi’s use of the fines violated did not affect their salaries, so the mandate did not violate the 27th Amendment. Finally, the federal judge added their arguments about the penalties were “vague, generalized, and unsupported.”
Interestingly, Dr. Monahan dropped the masking recommendation last month. He referenced the drop in COVID-19 cases in Washington, D.C., when he suggested that masks can be optional.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
The Washington Post: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene hit with four more fines for breaking House rule by refusing to wear a mask; by Mariana Alfaro
Northern Kentucky Tribune: Rep. Thomas Massie, two colleagues, sue Speaker Pelosi, others, over fines related to mask mandate; by Tom Latek
POLITICUSUSA: Marjorie Taylor Greene Loses Her Entire Congressional Salary After Judge Rules For Pelosi On Mask Mandate; by Jason Easley
HUFFPOST: Marjorie Taylor Greene Claims She’s Working ‘For Free’ With All Her Pay Going To Mask Fines; by Mary Papenfuss
AP: 3 GOP House members lose appeals over $500 mask fines; by Meg Kinnard
CNN: Judge throws out challenge from Republican lawmakers against House mask mandate; by Katelyn Polantz and Tierney Sneed
Images Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License