House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., might never have known their bodyguards left guns in the bathroom without CQ Roll Call's report, which has launched a Capitol Police investigation into the source of the leak.
Spokesmen for the two GOP leaders on Tuesday made their first comments on the security lapses that were revealed May 1 , in a report featuring a photo of the Glock a member of McConnell's detail allegedly left hanging out of a toilet seat cover dispenser in the Capitol Visitor Center's Senate office space. A CVC worker found the gun on Jan. 29, resulting in a recommendation of six days of unpaid suspension for the officer. "Leader McConnell learned about these incidents last week," Michael Brumas said in an email to CQ Roll Call. "He takes these security breaches seriously and he awaits the results of a thorough review of the incidents by the Capitol Police Board."
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel also confirmed his boss was not aware until last week of the March 24 incident, when a child visiting the Capitol with his parents allegedly found a loaded Glock lost by a dignitary protection officer in the bathroom of the Speaker’s Suite. Boehner takes the incidents seriously and awaits the report from top law enforcement officials, according to Steel.
The lost guns were documented in a portion of a report to the Capitol Police Board, obtained on April 30 by CQ Roll Call. House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving, nominated by Boehner to the non-partisan post in 2012, and Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Frank J. Larkin, nominated by McConnell earlier this year, sit on the board with Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers, who was nominated by President Barack Obama in 2010. The board has jurisdiction over Capitol Police.
Larkin and Irving did not respond to phone calls or emails on Tuesday afternoon.
Gun control advocates saw the story as political red meat, using it to attack the GOP.
"Thanks in large part to gun lobby lap dogs like John Boehner, Congress has ignored the overwhelming will and safety of the American people, and done nothing to protect our children from the dangers of guns," Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign, stated in response to the May 1 article. "Maybe at least this incident can serve as a reminder to the rest of us to do what we can to keep our kids safe by asking if there are unlocked guns where our children play, apparently whether it’s the house of a neighbor or The House of Representatives."
When asked for a response, Boehner's office directed questions to the Capitol Police.
Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report. Related: Glock Photo Sparks Firestorm on Capitol Hill Capitol Police Investigating Gun Report Leak Do Capitol Police Problems Go Beyond the Bathroom? (Updated) Capitol Police Left Guns in Bathrooms (Video) The 114th: CQ Roll Call's Guide to the New Congress Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.