Democrats handpick reform bill audience

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By Thursday evening Republicans were using the closed-to-the-public event as a fundraising tool.

“Pelosi and her liberal allies want us to know as little about this legislation as possible, because it cannot stand up to public scrutiny. Why else would Pelosi forbid the public from attending the event?” the National Republican Congressional Committee said in its plea for contributions.

A 2008 Congressional Research Service report says using the Capitol’s West Front usually requires a joint resolution of Congress, though in some cases a simple police permit will suffice.

“Events that entail the use of the West Front Steps of the Capitol, electricity on the Lower West Terrace of the Capitol, require more than 24 hours from setup to cleanup, require vehicles on Capitol Grounds for setup, or will have a large number of Members in attendance typically require a concurrent resolution,” the report said.

Congress did not pass such a resolution. Asked about whether a special permit was issued, a Capitol Police spokeswoman referred calls to the House Sergeant at Arms Office, which didn’t return calls seeking comment. Mrs. Pelosi’s spokesman also didn’t return messages asking about the authorization to close down the space.

Republicans said when they held their own energy event last year on the West Front of the Capitol the public was not prohibited and that protestors were present.

About the Author
Kara Rowland

Kara Rowland

Kara Rowland, White House reporter for The Washington Times, is a D.C.-area native. She graduated from the University of Virginia, where she studied American government and spent nearly all her waking hours working as managing editor of the Cavalier Daily, UVa.’s student newspaper.

Her interest in political reporting was piqued by an internship at Roll Call the summer before her ...

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