Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday over the controversial student art contest painting that was removed from the Capitol.
Clay’s office said in a news release that the removal by the Architect of the Capitol violated the constitutional rights of David Pulphus, whose “Untitled #1” was a winner in the annual high school competition in Clay’s district.
The painting depicted police officers in Ferguson, Mo., as pigs in showing strained police-community relations there.
“His artwork was initially reviewed, accepted and approved for public display under the very same standards and criteria that apply to all student entries in this prestigious, annual competition,” Clay said in a statement.
In a statement announcing the lawsuit, Clay said Architect of the Capitol Steven Ayers made his decision based after coming under “enormous political pressure from the Speaker of the House and certain right-wing media outlets.
“Seven months after being displayed as part of a public exhibit, a deluge of alternative right media, aided by the unauthorized actions of certain reactionary Members of Congress, deprived Mr. Pulphus of his constitutionally guaranteed 1st Amendment Right of Free Expression,” Clay said in his statement.
The National Republican Congressional Committee named 10 members to its Patriot Program for incumbents who are expected to face tough re-elections in 2018.
“Our Patriots are a group of battle-tested members who won hard fought races in 2016 and are ready to win once again,” NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers said in a statement Wednesday.
“The NRCC stands squarely behind each of them and will work tirelessly on their behalf to ensure their important voices continue to represent their constituents,” Stivers said.
Patriot status usually comes with fundraising and organizational assistance. Stivers is a previous chair of the program, which is now helmed by Pennsylvania Rep. Ryan Costello.
This cycle’s initial Patriots include five members elected in 2016, three members of the class of 2014, one member of the class of 2012, and one long-term congressman, California Rep. Darrell Issa, who had a closer than expected re-election last fall and is already facing a rematch from his 2016 Democratic challenger. All 10 members are on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's initial target list.
Here’s the full list: