John McCaslin

"That's right, Republicans and Democrats all over the Hill are getting busted," reveals Republican Rep. Ted Poe of Texas. "The dastardly offense was paying tribute to American warriors by placing a poster outside the office with photos of our troops killed in Iraq or Afghanistan."

Mr. Poe, like others, got cited for having a sign-in table and easel with a poster in the hallway. He himself was granted 30 days to comply with the new hallway policy or he will be in violation of the new edict.

"While we are still in the transition period we are bringing this issue to your attention in order to provide you with the opportunity to bring your office into compliance," the citation reads. "The policy will be in full force and effect on August 2, 2008, and after that date all items that violate the hallway policy will be removed."

The Architect of the Capitol argues that during an emergency evacuation items placed in the extra-wide hallways of the congressional office buildings interfere with the safe exit of members, staff, and visitors.

But Mr. Poe counters that the new rule violates the first amendment of free speech and freedom of expression, and he is now threatening to push for passage of a law to keep such tributes on display.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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