Red lights in obtaining open records on Capitol Hill

Red lights in obtaining open records on Capitol Hill

While in Washington, DC today I visited both the Cannon House Office Building to look at additional open records on members of the U.S. House from Kansas, and the Hart Senate Office Building to review open records on the two U.S. Senators from Kansas.

In both places I was told photography was absolutely forbidden in the rooms containing open records about the members of Congress.

Use of digital cameras to capture information quickly for later study is not possible in these offices, however House documents can be photocopied for $0.10/copy, while Senate documents were twice as expensive at $0.20/copy. 

At the Legislative Research Center in room B-106 of the Cannon House office Building I asked about using my video camera to take pictures of certain documents, and to create a short tutorial on what information could be obtained from the LRC.  While that request was denied (again), I was told that I could appeal that rule to the Clerk of the House.  I was told that such a request must be made in writing.

Hart Senate Office Building

At the Office of Public Records in room SH-232 of the Hart Senate Office Building I asked about using my video camera there.  The response was again that photography was not possible. In fact, I was forbidden from even taking a picture of the door to room SH-232.  It’s unclear why documents in those offices cannot simply be copied with a digital camera.

With limited time, a number of additional records were obtained form both office buildings for additional analysis.

At 5 PM Eastern time today, I was quite surprised to see the Glenn Beck show on the TV a the Office of Public Records in the Hart Building.  It’s unclear whether Beck was being shown because those in the office support him, or whether he was only being shown as part of some sort of opposition research.

Look for several additional postings about open records about how Congress runs itself in the next few days.


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One Comment to “Don’t take pictures near open records at Legislative Research Center or Office of Public Records on Capitol Hill”

  1. rockchalk says:

    So much for open government.