Burchett, 20 Lawmakers, Propose Rule Change Improving House Transparency

October 29, 2019
Press Release
Lack of access to impeachment hearing documents raises serious concerns about impeachment inquiry’s legitimacy

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Tim Burchett (TN-02) introduced a resolution to give all Members of the House of Representatives better access to Congressional hearing documents. The Let Everyone Access a Copy of the Transcripts Resolution, which is cosponsored by 20 lawmakers, would amend the rules of the House of Representatives to require all closed hearing documents and recordings to be available to all Members on the same schedule and basis.
Rep. Burchett’s resolution is introduced in the middle of House Democrats’ unauthorized impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The impeachment hearings have not been open to every Member of the House of Representatives, only those who sit on the House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight and Government Reform Committees. Members not on these committees do not have access to any of the impeachment inquiry materials, leaving them at a serious disadvantage for gathering information. Rep. Burchett argues this prevents Members from accurately representing their constituents and the backroom nature of the hearings withholds key information from the American public.
“If Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and the rest of the Democrat leadership are going to impeach the President, the American people deserve to know why,” said Rep. Burchett. “The public needs to know what was said during all the secret, closed-door witness testimonies of the last few weeks before this partisan impeachment is rushed forward. Instead of laying out their argument and evidence for all to see, Democrats are keeping the hearing transcripts private while leaking selective details to the media. This lack of transparency is an insult to all Americans, and the House rules must be changed.”
“The contempt that Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and House Democrats have for President Trump has fueled a closed-door, behind the scenes, hyper-partisan "impeachment inquiry" where Congress and the American people have been kept in the dark. It is long past time for Congressional Democrats to bring their impeachment process out of the shadows and provide transparency to the American public,” said Republican Chief Deputy Whip Drew Ferguson (GA-03).
“It’s ridiculous that less than a quarter of the members serving in the U.S. House of Representatives currently have access to impeachment hearing documents and recordings,” said Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13). “I believe the American people deserve to have this entire process done in the open and with rules that follow precedent and allow for due process. At the very least, every member of Congress should have access to hearing documents and other related information.”
“If Democrats are going to try and overturn the results of an American presidential election, the American people deserve to know what’s going on behind closed doors. So far, the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry has been comprised of secret interviews, selective leaks, performances of transcripts that never happened, and lies about whistleblowers. The American people deserve to know the truth. I’m proud to cosponsor this resolution mandating that materials from closed door hearings be made readily available to all Members of Congress on behalf of the millions of people we represent,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL-01).
“Each Member of Congress, regardless of their party or committee assignments, has the duty of representing their constituents with all available information. Without access to all the information from an oversight investigation, including transcripts, this is impossible,” said Rep. John Curtis (UT-03). “That is why I am proud to introduce this resolution to require that all Members—instead of just a select few—have access to transcripts of classified hearings at the same time, including those relating to impeaching the President.”
Congressman Burchett is joined by Reps. Ferguson (GA-03), Davis (IL-13), Gaetz (FL-01), Curtis (UT-03), DesJarlais (TN-04), Fleischmann (TN-03), Gibbs (OH-07), Gonzalez (OH-16), Guest (MS-03), Guthrie (KY-02), Hagedorn (MN-01), Hern (OK-01), Kustoff (TN-08), Olson (TX-22), Riggleman (VA-05), Roe (TN-01), Rose (TN-06), Roy (TX-21), Rutherford (FL-04), and Weber (TX-14) in introducing this legislation.