Thursday, March 15, 2007

Press Release: Congressman Cannon and Bishop vote against open government

Press Release
March 15, 2007

Contact: Wayne Holland
Utah State Democratic Party Chair

Yesterday the United States House of Representatives voted on four measures that will provide greater openness and transparency in government. All four bills enjoyed the support of Congressman Jim Matheson, but Congressman Cannon opposed all four and Congressman Bishop voted against two of the four.

The House Bills are:
  • H.R. 1309, Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 2007 would reaffirm the presumption that records should be released to the public if disclosure is allowable under the law.
  • H.R. 1255, Amending the Presidential Records Act would require any claim of constitutionally based privilege to be asserted personally by a former or incumbent president.
  • H.R. 985, Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007 provides greater protection for any whistleblower that reasonably believes he/she has credible evidence of waste, abuse, gross mismanagement, or substantial and specific danger to public health or safety and increases the authority of the Merit Systems Protection Board to impose disciplinary action for prohibited personnel practices.
  • H.R. 1254, the Presidential Library Donation Reform Act of 2007 requires all presidential library fundraising organizations to submit quarterly reports on contributors giving $200 or more during the quarterly reporting period.

At least some of these common sense reforms, such as reaffirming public access to information through the Freedom of Information Act, have already been threatened with a presidential veto in spite of the fact all four bills received strong bi-partisan support passing by more than 300 votes.

“We are extremely disappointed Congressmen Cannon and Bishop were unwilling to join with Congressman Matheson in supporting all four of these pieces of legislation” says Utah Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Holland. “With these bills enjoying such strong support among both Democrats and most Republicans in the House, Congressman Chris Cannon in particular demonstrates with his opposition to these reforms just how far outside of the mainstream he has moved over the years.”

For additional comment, please contact Utah State Democratic Party Chair Wayne Holland at (801)328-1212

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