Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Sunshine Week is Underway and the Congressional Oversight Committee will be holding a full committee hearing from 9am-11am on St. Patrick's Day - Thursday, March 17, 2011 on the subject of “The Freedom of Information Act: Crowd-Sourcing Government Oversight.”
Those scheduled to testify include: Miriam Nisbet - NARA; Daniel Metcalfe – Collaboration on Government Secrecy; Tom Fitton – Judicial Watch; Rick Blum – Sunshine in Government; Angela Canterbury – Project on Open Government Oversight.
This hearing may be televised in the USA on CSPAN live or delayed at another time.
It will be a good time to view the committee at work and see how such hearings are conducted, so when they finally get around to holding a hearing on the JFK Act we know what to expect.
The two on-line petitions we have going requesting the committee hold hearings - include the original petition to the Democrats (with over 350 signatures JFK ACT Oversight Hearings - Signatures) and the more recent one (with nearly 200 JFK Act Oversight Hearings - Signatures), which will be presented to the Committee chairman and subcommittee chairmen and other members of the committee this week.
Thanks to all who have signed on. If you have yet to sign the petition you can do now or within the next week JFK Act Oversight Hearings Petition, and send the link to those friends you know who would like to sign it.
We also are requesting that people privately fax a letter to the Chairman of the Committee (Issa) requesting to be notified when a JFK Act Oversight Hearing is scheduled so arrangements can be made to attend or review the proceedings on CSPAN.
Here's my one-page letter that will give you an idea of what to day. If the committee gets 100 such faxes or letters mailed to them, they will hold a hearing, and you can be one who makes a difference. While some people may be shy about signing a public petition, your confidentially will be maintained and you can still have an impact by sending a one-page, polite fax and mailed letter to the Committee, as I have done.
Open Letter to the Chairman of the House Oversight Committeeof the USCongress Rep. Darrell Issa (R. Calf
Rep. Darrell Issa (R. Calf.)
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-5074 /Fax: (202) 225-3974
Dear Rep. Issa,
As chairman of the House Oversight Committee, you are responsible for holding public hearings that oversee the laws of the United States, including the JFK Act of 1992 and the work of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), that has yet to be given any oversight since the Review Board was dissolved over fifteen years ago.
The last time the Republicans controlled the Committee they didn’t conduct any oversight at all for over a decade, and the few years that the Democrats were in control they appeared sympathetic but “didn’t want torock the boat.” Well now you are in the driver’s seat, and are threatening to hold oversight hearings every week, and if you do, then oversight of the JFKAct should be given a top priority.
It is an important subject that many Americans are concerned about, and there will be an increase in interest with the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy administration. There are many questions that deserve to be addressed, including why Secret Service records were intentionally destroyed after they were requested by the ARRB, why other important assassination records were destroyed, how national security records could go missing without any investigation of their disposition, and why significant numbers of records are still wrongfully and illegally being withheld.
This is a non-partisan issue supported by both Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, conspiracy and non-conspiracy advocates alike, and is of serious concern to the majority of Americas who have lost their confidence in the government.
I believe you will take this issue seriously and request to be notified, if and when you decide to schedule an oversight hearing on the JFK Act, so I can make arrangements to attend and review the proceedings that will be of interest to all Americans.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter,
William Kelly Billkelly3@gmail.com
For those who are serious about utilizing and applying the Congressional Oversight powers to the JFK Act, you should get a copy and read this pamplet, The Art of Congressional Oversight: A User’s Guide To Doing It Right (2009, POGO – Project On Government Oversight) with Chapter One available on line here: http://pogoarchives....k/chapter-1.pdf
Recognizing Responsibility and Power 7
The legal basis for congressional oversight 8
Key principles of congressional oversight 8
Measure you Congressional IQ 11
Beginning Your Investigation 15
Deciding what type of oversight investigation you want topursue 16
Checking your committee’s rules 16
Studying what is already available 17
Narrowing your search 18
Using case studies to exemplify systematic failures 18
Finding the instances of wrongdoing (waste, fraud, or abuse)19
Getting a hold of the documentation 19
Cultivating contacts within the agencies and companies youcover 20
Listening to insiders and whistleblowers 20
Getting out of the office 20
Utilizing the media 21
An Investigative Case Study: Not Sweeping it Under the Rug22
Utilizing Resources 25
Tapping into other investigator’s reports 25
Working with insiders and whistleblowers 26
Reaching out to other experts 29
Finding publicly available information 31
Additional Reading 31
Conducing the Investigation and Prepping for thehearing 33
Keeping your boss engaged 34
Being mindful of potential procedural objections to yourinvestigation 35
Deciding on your media strategy ahead of time 36
Considering legislative fixes before and after the hearing36
Consulting with House or Senate Legal Counsel 37
Establishing Process 37
Being Patient 38
Knowing your issue 38
Interviewing your subject ahead of time 39
Giving the witnesses or agencies zero excuse for notcooperating 39
Not being fooled by pseudo-classifications 41
Exerting Congress’s right to information 41
Using Congress’s oversight arsenal 43
The Hearing and Beyond 49
Engaging the media 49
Scripting the hearing 51
Not letting the hearing be the end 58
Additional Reading 60
Additional Resources 65
A. The Right Balance of Power: The Responsibility of CongressionalOversight 65
B. Federal Contracting: Investigative Tips 72
C. Contracting Resources and Publicly Available Information75 c
D. Congressional Tip Sheet on Access to ClassifiedInformation 81
Members of the Subcommittee on Information/NARA and Technology
The Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform.
Chair: Rep. James Lankford (OK-5)
Vice Chair: Rep. Mike Kelly (PA-3)
Jason Chaffetz (UT-3)
Tim Walberg (MI-7)
Raul Labrador (ID-1)
Pat Meehan (PA-7)
Blake Farenthold (TX-27)
Gerald Connolly, Virginia, Ranking Member
Christopher Murphy, Connecticut
Stephen Lynch, Massachusetts
The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has legislative jurisdiction over the District of Columbia, the government procurement process, federal personnel systems, the Postal Service and other matters. Our primary responsibility, however, is oversight of virtually everything government does – from national security to homeland security grants, from federal workforce policies to regulatory reform and reorganization authority, from information technology procurements at individual agencies to government-wide data security standards.