Courier claims: Lawmakers offer no info on FOIA

The staff at the Bristol Herald Courier allegedly e-mailed the Mountain Empire Region’s six federal representatives nine questions about the Freedom of Information Act and other federal open government policy matters.

They had hoped to use the responses as part of an article to run for National Sunshine Week.  The newspaper later canned the idea because U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher was the only lawmaker to directly answer each question contained in the survey.

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., replied with a three-sentence e-mail stating he is a “firm believer in an open, honest and accountable government” but added it’s difficult to find a balance between national security and the public’s right to know.

US Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and U.S. Rep. David Davis, R-1st District, chose to respond to the survey in a similar fashion. In other words, they said what they wanted to say without answering the questions at all.

So it’s almost funny and even ironic when our elected officials give us circular answers to simple questions we sent them about this topic.

Corker and Alexander were both claiming to be champions for open government while seemingly trying to dodge and misdirect us.

At least, TN lawmakers made an effort.

A spokesperson for Senator John Warner, R-Va., said it is office policy not to answer any questionnaire or survey it receives and Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., did not respond to the questions at all.

More about the survey and the responses can be found here.

Tsk, tsk.  The lawmakers should have seen this one coming.  A standard rule: if the politicians won’t properly answer questions for a story… write a story about it to fill the hole.

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