Senate Intelligence Committee Finally Agrees to Release Details of Its Votes

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Diane Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss (photo: C-Span)

Government watchdog groups have long complained about the Senate Intelligence Committee’s policy of not revealing how its members vote on bills and nominations.


Now this policy of secrecy is finally coming to an end, according to the committee’s chair, Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California, and ranking Republican member Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.


The change comes after the committee’s vote on John O. Brennan to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency. With the policy still in effect then, the media and the public had no way to know which members supported and opposed Brennan in the 12-3 vote.


As it turned out, the three senators who voted “no” revealed themselves: Chambliss and Republicans Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Jim Risch of Idaho.


But as good government organizations noted, had the senators not announced their votes, the public would have been left in the dark.


“When you afford lawmakers the ability to hide how they voted, no one can hold them accountable,” Joe Newman, communications director for the Project On Government Oversight, told Roll Call.


The Senate Intelligence Committee had been the only Congressional committee that didn’t disclose voting positions.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

In a Reversal, Senate Intelligence Panel to Release Vote Tallies (by Matt Fuller, Roll Call)

Obama Signing Statement Rejects Wider Sharing of Intelligence Info with Congress (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)                     

DeMint and Coburn Lead Senate in Voting “No” (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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