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Archive of posts filed under the Public Access category.

The Senate’s Legal Basis for Muzzling Former Staffers

According to this story, Vicki Divoll, former counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has been barred by SSCI from discussing in the media (specifically Talking Points Memo) certain non-classified information relating to the committee’s oversight of intelligence programs. Divoll gave an interview to TPM regarding the congressional role in intelligence oversight and submitted [...]

Must Committee Websites Be Fair and Balanced?

An article this week by Fortune senior editor Stephen Gandel questions whether certain House committee websites, particularly that of the Financial Services Committee, comply with rules and regulations established by the Committee on House Administration. These provide that committee websites may not: Include personal, political, or campaign information. Be directly linked or refer to Web [...]

Seeking Section Four Transparency

As the national debt rises rapidly toward the latest “ceiling”, Professor Epps once again proposes (“A Gun to the Debt-Ceiling Fight”) the President invoke (or threaten to invoke) Section Four of the Fourteenth Amendment to avoid all that unpleasantness from last time. Needless to say, I don’t think any more of the legal merits of [...]

Inappropriate Behavior?

House Rule XI (g)(5) provides (5) To the maximum extent practicable, each committee shall— 
(A) provide audio and video coverage of each hearing or meeting for the transaction of business in a manner that allows the public to easily listen to and view the proceedings; and 
(B) maintain the recordings of such coverage in a [...]

Sunshine for the Super-Committee?

The legislation creating the “Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction” (AKA, the “Super-committee”) contains little detail on rules and procedures that the Super-committee is to follow.  Title IV of the Act establishes the Super-committee and provides for public notice of its hearings, but is otherwise silent on how much of its processes are to be [...]

Is a House Vote Required to Release the Clemens Tape?

Last week the Clemens defense team asked the judge to grant it access to the audiotape of the February 5, 2008 deposition in which congressional staff questioned Clemens regarding his use of steroids. COGR had previously provided the prosecution and defense with the transcript of this deposition, at which Clemens made many of the alleged [...]

House Statement of Disbursements Available Online

             The House of Representatives Quarterly Statement of Disbursements is available online today (hat tip: Sunlight Foundation).  This report has been published in hard copy for many years, but this is the first time that it has been made available over the internet, pursuant to a June 3, 2009 directive from Speaker Pelosi.              [...]

More on the British FOIA and the House of Commons

Those who follow matters of legislative privilege and transparency may find the U.K. FOIA case against the House of Commons to be of some interest.  One wonders how the observations of the British courts as to the lack of legislative transparency might be applied to the operations of the U.S. Congress.  As mentioned in a [...]

Will UK Scandal Impact Congressional Transparency?

          Although it has not received a great deal of attention here, a major scandal has rocked the British Parliament in recent weeks.  The scandal has its roots in a request several years ago by a free-lance journalist named Heather Brooke, who used the newly enacted British Freedom of Information Act to ask for records [...]