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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Folks, I Goofed Big Time on Shadegg, Boehner FOIA Hewitt Talk Radio Interview Comments

Sheesh, how could I do something stupid like confuse the Radio Blogger transcripts of Hugh Hewitt's interviews with Rep. John Shadegg, R-AZ, and Rep. John Boehner, R-OH, and thus confuse who said what about applying the Freedom of Information Act to Congress?

Look at the update on this post and you will see that I attributed to Shadegg the comments actually made by Boehner about applying FOIA to Congress. The portion of the transcript I copied to the post even says "JB," not JS, but I still attributed it to Shadegg. Here is the Boehner transcript.

I apologize to the Honorable Gentleman from Arizona for attributing to him views actually expressed by the Honorable Gentleman from Ohio. And I apologize to Hugh Hewitt for making such a goofball mistake in connection with a transcript of an interview on his Talk Radio show.

Most important, I apologize to my readers who depend upon bloggers like me to get things right the first time. I like to think the mistakes in Tapscott's Copy Desk are few and far between, but when I do make one, it tends to be something really stupid like this one.

So, here is the portion of the Hewitt interview with Boehner concerning his views on applying the FOIA to Congress:

"JB: I'm the guy that carried the bill that would require Congress live under all the laws that we expect all other Americans to live under.

"HH: Would that be part of your opening salvo, if you were elected leader as well, the put Congress under the laws it passes?

"JB: That is the law today. We changed that rule in January of 1995, on the opening day of the first Republican Congress in forty years.

"HH: Well, of course, FOIA doesn't apply to Congress. Ought FOIA to apply to Congress?

"JB: Good question. FOIA is a law Congress passed for the executive branch. And because we do have, in fact, a separation of powers issue, I'm not sure that it's appropriately applied to Congress.

"HH: Well, a lot of people would love to see what you guys are sending out in your mail to your constituents. And you know, I support transparency in everything. And so, are you open to FOIA being extended to the Congress?

"JB: Well, I'm open to it, but private correspondence between...there's privacy issue. When we deal with our constituents, and we're answering their questions, there's a privacy issue that we need to be sensitive to.

"HH: How about communications between a Congressman and the agencies?

"JB: That would be fine. Open it right up."

It is Boehner, not Shadegg, who is correct here in noting the privacy issue. And, as I noted in the original post containing the mis-attribution, the FOIA includes nine specific categories of exemptions, including national security, law enforcement, personal privacy and commercial secrets.