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Congressman Sires Statement on Efforts to Bring Transparency to Hearing Witnesses on the Foreign Affairs Committee

Jan 24, 2017
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) - Today, Congressman Sires issued the following statement regarding lack of transparency for government witnesses testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Today, an amendment presented to the House Foreign Affairs Committee Rules for the 115th Congress by Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI) requiring witnesses to disclose conflicts and prior relationships with foreign agents failed to be included the final version.

“In an increasingly interconnected world it is easy for our business leaders and government officials to have a tangled web of personal and professional networks that stretches across the globe. That is why I am disappointed that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle struck down a common sense amendment requesting that all government witnesses testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee disclose any substantial relationships and connections they have with foreign agents or entities that fall under the scope of the hearing.

This amendment would have also required all government witnesses to disclose whether they had ever represented a foreign agent in the United States. Though I was proud to support this amendment, it was unfortunately defeated in a party-line vote earlier today. The straight forward requests in this amendment mimics the scrutiny already applied to all non-governmental witnesses that testify before our committee.

I have always been proud that the Foreign Affairs Committee has tried to operate in a bipartisan manner but today was a blow to our committee’s oversight and investigation powers. I believe our constituents demand the highest standards of scrutiny and transparency when we conduct business in Washington D.C. and it is a shame that my colleagues and I were denied access to this critical and easily available information as we get to work in Washington. It is my hope that in the 115th Congress we can work together in a bipartisan way to ensure the strongest oversight of our federal agencies and the tax dollars used to fund them.”