Friday, July 03, 2009

Kaptur refuses to release info on calls for/against cap and tax bill

UPDATE: Maybe we'll start a trend...Kansas Meadowlark has also filed a FOIA request for similar information from his congressman, Rep. Dennis Moore.

And this isn't the first time.

This morning on WSPD, they read an email from Lisa who recounted her experience with Rep. Marcy Kaptur's office when she requested to know the number of for and against communications regarding the Waxman-Markey energy bill, more properly known as the cap and tax (not cap and trade) bill.

She was told, as they have informed others, that they don't keep that information. She had two polite conversations with individuals in the office, one of whom told her the majority of calls were in favor of the bill. How they knew that if they didn't keep count was not explained.

Then Steve Fought, Kaptur's communications director, got on the line. Lisa described his demeanor as 'rude.' He said they weren't required to give out that information. When Lisa asked about accountability, Fought explained that Kaptur is accountable to the Constitution.

Well, that's true. So where in the Constitution does Congress get the authority to require us to retrofit our homes according to some government-created standard?

But it's also true that as our representative, Kaptur is accountable to us, the people she's supposed to be representing. And if she refuses to tell us, on numerous occasions, what her constituents have instructed her to do, how do we hold her accountable?

Aye, there's the rub.

But the bigger problem is that this information is a public record. So today I used the 'contact me' form on her website and made a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request for anything that documents the communications from her constituents on this bill. I used the FOIA Letter Generator to help me word it properly and, because I'm a blogger, requested a waiver of fees, as allowed under the law.

The instructions of the public relating to this bill are critical to know, especially because she was reported to be undecided, saying it would "have an economic impact on the Midwest" and that she was "uncomfortable with the idea of trading carbon permits." But after her $3.5 billion pork project was included, she voted yes.

We need to know if she voted yes in because of her constituent instructions - or if the $3.5 billion was the cost to overcome the will of those she's supposed to represent.

I'll keep you posted on any response to my request.


Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...


Perhaps there are some valid reasons you may have overlooked for Representative Mousie Kaptur not freely giving out the information requested; let me explain:

The staffers in her office can't count, so the numbers for and against are unable to be determined.

The staffers in her office can't write legibly enough to decipher their own notes, so the are unable to count the numbers for/against the bill.

Ms. Kaptur told her staff not to keep any records regarding the bill, because she had already made up her mind, and didn't want to be influenced by what her constituents wanted anyway...

Ms. Kaptur is perhaps a bit confused as to whom she is supposed to be representing...

Ms. Kaptur has the actual counts, but wants to keep them secret, lest it be known to all that she is disregarding the the overwhelming numbers AGAINST the bill in favor of a BRIBE.

I can't wait for her reply, which I suspect will generate legal action to get. . .

James said...

I have a feeling she was waiting to see what pork project was given to her, then she voted yes.

Tim Higgins said...

Perhaps Rep. Kaptur simply does not want any of us to see what percentage of her district she actually represents.

Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...


That was exactly my point; only I prefer to look at is Mz. Kaptur misrepresenting her district. . .

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