Democrats outraged by POTUS’ ban on info requests – John Bresnahan 06/02/2017 06:58 PM EDT


Rep. Elijah Cummings /Getty Images
“This is the latest in a series of abuses by the Trump administration to operate in a shroud of secrecy, hiding their actions from federal ethics officials,” Rep. Elijah Cummings said. | Getty

Hill Democrats are outraged by a new Trump administration policy to ignore information requests from members and senators unless they come from committee or subcommittee chairs.

They argue it’s part of a broader pattern by the White House, designed to make the executive branch less responsive to Congress. And they say it effectively locks them out of information necessary for government oversight.

From refusing to release White House visitor logs to scrubbing agency websites of health and safety data and refusing to respond to simple media requests on government operations — or even admitting whether President Donald Trump is playing golf or not — the Trump administration has made it harder for Democrats and the press to find out what is going on inside the White House and federal agencies.

This effort is sometimes being aided by Republicans on Capitol Hill, or undertaken at their behest. For instance, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) has asked federal agencies to refuse to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests designed to find out what data his panel is seeking from those agencies.

Such FOIA inquiries are routinely made by journalists, lobbyists and political operatives. News organizations have strenuously objected to Hensarling’s demand.

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