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Fact check: U.S. Capitol Police Board oversees the force, along with congressional committees

  | USA TODAY

The claim: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refuses to take responsibility for causing the insurrection at the Capitol building

A Feb. 23 claim posted to Facebook is one of a multitude of social media posts blaming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

The post is a meme with the words, “I caused the insurrection at the Capital and refuse to take responsibility for it. #impeachPelosi” overlayed on top of a picture of Pelosi.

The post does not describe how the House speaker caused the attack, which was instigated by a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump, according to USA TODAY.

USA TODAY reached out to the poster for comment.

The mob rushed the U.S. Capitol during a special joint session of Congress to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election, quickly overwhelming U.S. Capitol Police. Washington’s Metropolitan Police force was the only immediate source of backup, USA TODAY reported.

The riots resulted in five deaths, including U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died hours after the attack, according to USA TODAY. At least 140 other Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police officers were injured.

Who is responsible for U.S. Capitol security?

The U.S. Capitol has law enforcement to protect the building and all representatives, staff, visitors and facilities, according to the U.S. Capitol Police website.

John Stolnis, spokesperson for the U.S. Capitol Police, told USA TODAY that oversight is complex.

“The United States Capitol Police (USCP) is overseen by the Capitol Police Board and has Congressional oversight by appropriations and authorizing committees from the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate,” Stolnis wrote in an email.

Panels that oversee USCP are the House and Senate committees on Appropriations, the Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch; the Committee on House Administration and the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. 

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, is chairman of House Appropriations and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., is the ranking member, according to the committee website. Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I. and Mike Braun, R-Ind., are chairperson and ranking member on the Senate side. 

House authorizing committee chairman and ranking member are Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Rodney Davis, R-Ill. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo., are chairperson and ranking member of the Senate committee.

“This oversight affords the Department the support and opportunity to continually ensure that the USCP meets the safety and security needs of the Congress, the staff, and the many visitors who come to the United States Capitol each day,” Stolnis explained.

Pelosi is not listed on the website as a chair or administrator of any committee supervising the Capitol Police.

After the events of Jan. 6, Pelosi called for then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund to step down. Sund’s resignation became effective on Jan. 16. In February, acting Chief Yogananda Pittman announced an internal investigation of 35 members of the Capitol Police. Two officers were suspended the week after the riot for taking selfies with insurrectionists and wearing pro-Trump paraphernalia, USA TODAY reported

Pittman is an ex officio member of the Capitol Police Board, Stolnis told USA TODAY. Other members include acting Chairman Jennifer A. Hemingway, U.S. Senate acting Sergeant-at-Arms; U.S. House of Representatives acting Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett; and J. Brett Blanton, Architect of the Capitol.

Our ruling: False

We rate the claim that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi caused the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol as FALSE, based on our research. The Capitol Police force is responsible for protecting the building and is overseen by a Capitol Police Board, and committees from the House of Representatives and Senate, according to a USCP spokesperson. Pelosi is not directly responsible for overseeing Capitol Police force operations.

Our fact-check sources:

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Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

2021-03-02T21:07:54Z

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