====== FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ======
Wednesday, 19 June 2002
Return the Sunshine: Congressional Secrecy Sinful
Boulder, CO The newly formed America First Party calls
on Congress to open its disciplinary processes the press and public, beginning
with the Ethics Committee hearings on Ohio Representative James A. Traficant,
Today, Interim National Chair Dan Charles issued the following
"The House and Senate Ethics Committees should operate in full public
view. Congress conducts investigations and public hearings into the ethical
conduct of other branches of government and the public servants who work for
them. They conduct investigations and hold public hearings into the ethical
conduct of private citizens and business. The same should be true of
investigations of themselves.
"Congress argues that the process will become politicized and that
Ethics Committees will be used for partisan purpose. However, that problem
already exists today-except those accused are not given a public forum to
defend themselves, while the accusations are widely spread. For that reason of
simple fairness, we call upon Congress to open its Ethics Committee process,
beginning with the upcoming hearings of Representative Traficant.
"We believe Congress has a moral obligation to open its processes to
those they represent as much as possible. When defense of individual rights,
integrity, and reputation becomes dependent on the good will of individual
politicians instead of the American people as a whole and the U. S.
Constitution, then we are headed towards tyranny and the American people will
have justification to fear their own government.
"It is said that there are two things people should not see made:
sausages and laws. But if Congress is going to spend our money like drunken
sailors on shore leave, pass laws that eviscerate our freedoms, and pass
judgment on what kind of future we will have or who will be permitted to
represent us, then we should be allowed to see them do it.
"We recognize that there are circumstances which require secrecy for
the purpose of protecting national security and the lives and methods of those
tasked with preserving our nation. However, the ethical conduct of our elected
representatives and those who would pass judgment on them is not a matter of
national security. If, in fact, a person is unfit to serve in our Congress,
then so be it. However, let the American people see the entire process, as was
done when there were substantial questions regarding the fitness of Presidents,
judges, and administrative officials. Congress should not hide its own
self-policing apparatus; transparency is the guardian of our republic.
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