Simply by installing “two digital cameras in every committee and subcommittee room,” the House could let citizens go on the Web to view all committee and subcommittee meetings–including oversight hearings–and thus erode “the power of K Street lobbyists who use ‘insider’ information gleaned from committee meetings to justify their fees.”
The House could also easily publish its finances online and make them fully searchable.
As Speaker of the House, Congresswoman Pelosi, will you seek to implement these reforms, and if not, why not?
Same nonpartisan question for every Democratic and Republican leader, every Democratic committee chairman and senior Republican member, and every rank-and-file Congressman.
The questions arise from a recent New York Times op-ed by a person who witnessed the inner workings of the House first-hand. He is Scot M. Faulkner, chief administrative officer of the House of Representatives from 1995 to 1997.
“[I]f the new Democratic majority functions anything like the old one, they — and we — are in for trouble,” Faulkner wrote. “The Democrats’ previous administration of Congress was amazingly dysfunctional — an operation that allowed the least ethically inclined members to rob the place blind,…
“During the 104th Congress, from 1995 to 1997, a bipartisan reform effort cleaned up some of the worst abuses….
“However, as revolutionary passion faded and incumbency extended, the Republican majority backed away from the ultimate reform: true transparency of House operations.”
I’ll throw in a nonpartisan question I’d love to see asked of the Speaker-to-be, et al:
The counterparts of our Freedom of Information Act in several other countries cover their legislative as well as their executive branches. Why shouldn’t the FOIA do the same?