AOC FOIA Update: Dear Madam Speaker

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

After the stonewalling I received from the United States Capitol Police in response to my request for the footage from inside the House Capitol Office Buildings from January 6th, I decided to take it to the person who allegedly has that power. Here is the letter I have written to Speaker Pelosi while copying House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. The letter was sent out Tuesday. The text is as shown below.

Dear Madam Speaker,

Last week I sent in a FOIA request to the USCP requesting the footage from inside the House Capitol Office Buildings on January 6th, 2021. The USCP, which defines itself as a “federal law enforcement agency” on its website and enjoys the capability of enforcing the law – an executive agency’s responsibility – has sent me communication stating that they are under the jurisdiction of the United States Congress, and immune from FOIA requests.  My complaints about that aside (as they are an enforcement mechanism and define themselves as an agency when it suits them), I am now turning to you to exercise a bit of transparency in ordering the USCP to release the footage.

Working in journalism, I have found that when people hide behind self-granted immunities, as was the case with this FOIA and other public records requests, it means they have something to hide.  As Democrats complained about the lack of transparency from the Trump Administration, I’d like to give you and the Democrats a chance to show the people of the United States what real transparency looks like.

Congresswoman Ocasio Cortez’s statements regarding the happenings of January 6th have been questioned and if they are true, require the attention of the people to show that rioters did indeed threaten the lives of Congresspersons inside of the House Capitol Office Buildings.  If they are not true, Congresswoman Ocasio Cortez’s statements are fabrications, intent on causing a further divide in our already divided nation.  It is in the interest of the people that we either justify the outrage generated by Ocasio Cortez, Congresswoman Porter, and others, or we show the country that these accusations are fabrications and we can unite in rejecting these fabrications and violent rhetoric from either party.

You have my word that the content of the videos will not change whether or not I or my organization will publish the findings. That is my extension of good faith. I truly believe that if rioters were threatening to enter offices in the Capitol Office Buildings, it is important that the people on the right see the footage, the same they did from inside of the US Capitol Building on that horrible day. Similarly, I am sure you can agree that if there were not the threats as stated by Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, that the continuation of any narrative stating that they were threatened only seeks to further divide an already (and perhaps irreparably) divided nation.

Any refusal to release the footage will be taken as your tacit endorsement of a continued lack of transparency.  While there is literally nothing I nor my organization will be able to do about it for any reason, should you continue with the denial of that request I can also state that I will continue to update our readers each and every week on the lack of transparency from the Office of Speaker Pelosi. I know, that doesn’t scare you in the slightest, nor really should it. However the foundation of this country was built upon both transparency and the freedom of the press (among other things), and I would hope we could celebrate this together in generating a little goodwill between two diametrically opposed individuals to show the country that we can unite to set the record straight, no matter who may be negatively affected.

I appreciate your willingness to consider this request and look forward to working with your office to ensure the timely release of this footage to help our Country on the path to healing.

Sincerely,

Scott A. Hounsell

 

Now we wait.