Update [2005-6-14 17:35:16 by susanhu]: The Downing Street Memo/Minutes hearing, led by Rep. John Conyers, is Thurs., June 16, at 1:30pm EST in the Wasserman Room at 430 S Capitol St. SE, Washington, D.C. The rally is at 5pm EST in Lafayette Park. Urge C-SPAN to cover these events: Main Number: (202) 737-3220; Viewer Services: (765) 464-3080 (for programming Qs); events@c-span.org

“Sean McLaughlin, deputy chief of staff for Chairman James Sensenbrenner, recently wrote to a minority staffer on the House Judiciary Committee:

“’I’m sitting here watching your “forum” on C-SPAN,’ McLaughlin wrote. ‘just to let you know, it was your last. Don’t bother asking [for a room] again’, ” reports The Hill.

In December, ranking Democrat John Conyers (Mich.) began holding “forums” — gatherings with all the trappings of official hearings — after Chairman Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) refused to hold hearings on topics Conyers requested. The forums have been held in smaller committee rooms, often with C-SPAN coverage and formal witness lists. More below:

“[T]he Judiciary Committee may well be the worst” when it comes to “bipartisan comity,” reports The Hill.

In a sign of how far relationships on the committee have soured, majority staff recently announced a new policy to deny any request from a committee Democrat for the use of a committee hearing room.


Majority spokesman Jeff Lungren said the Republicans have given Democrats three opportunities to make clear that the forums are not official committee business. Nevertheless, Lungren said, in at least one case, members were addressing Conyers as “Mr. Chairman.”

“They were unwilling or unable to make those changes,” Lungren said. “At this point, if they want to hold these forums, they’ll have to find some other place to do it.”


A committee source said committee Democrats are still planning to hold the forums when they find other available space.

Related BooTrib story:: Resolution to Rebuke Sensenbrenner

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