Monthly Archives: November 2011

I’VE GOT YOUR SUSPICIOUS PACKAGE RIGHT HERE

In my last blog, I chronicled the events of November 13, 2011, in the Russell Building of the U.S. Senate. The Tea Party Debt Commission was scheduled to formally present its proposals to a group of senators and congressmen, and the discussion was to be streamed live on C-SPAN, but senate staffers kicked them out, citing the direction of Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

I told you about the two reasons staffers gave for doing that:

First, it was “simulating a hearing.” This was in an email between the staffers before they said it was time to “pull the plug” on the event. That’s curious, given that numerous unofficial “pseudo-hearings” have taken place in the Senate. Conservative blogger Michelle Malkin recently did the heavy lifting and provided links to a video by former Senator Bob Bennett on climate and energy, as well as a transcript of an unofficial “hearing” involving Chuck Schumer himself.

Second, the staffers claimed that (Schumer’s) Senate Rules Commission had determined that such hearings were political in nature, and therefore, not allowed.

It’s my persuasion that the latter part about the hearings being “political in nature” was code speech that the staffers felt was safe to use in their emails for justifying why they had to immediately organize an initiative to shut down the event. Such vague rationale could be broadly applied to many things.

Unlike the “simulating a hearing” claim, the “political nature” argument was only referenced in the emails. I saw video where the staffers told Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) about the simulated hearing issue, but nowhere in any of that footage did the staffers ever cite the “political” argument to Lee.

Having discussed the day’s events with Sam DeMarco, who was one of the Commissioners on the Tea Party Debt Commission, and having examined the text and timestamps of now-published emails, I’ve gotten a pretty decent feel for what happened that day and the timeline of events.

The “official story” that was finally propagated for the sudden shutdown was something I deliberately DID NOT reference in my last blog. This claim, little more than mere retroactive continuity, was that Capitol police had to respond to a “suspicious package” in front of room 326. The debt commission hearing was scheduled for room 325.

That notice from Capitol police was sent out at 1:31 PM.

The email saying it was time to “pull the plug on the event” went out at 1:11 PM.

There was never any mention of a “suspicious package” video of the confrontation between Schumer’s staffers and Mike Lee.

Personally, I think it’s time for an official hearing…one that examines this timeline and details of the day’s events in more specificity.

I’m way past the point where I have any patience left for people in Washington making up rules as they go just to prevent citizens from being heard.

And wouldn’t the Capitol be safer if the public understood what the penalty was for calling in a fake bomb scare to Capitol police?

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DEBT COMMISSION DENIED

On Thursday, November 17, the Tea Party Debt Commission, a collaborative effort of conservative activists and analysts, was scheduled to present its conclusions to a group of senators and congressmen. 200 people went to room 325 of the Russell Senate Office building in Washington, DC for this event. It was on C-SPAN’s schedule to be carried live at 2:00. Among those in attendance were Sam DeMarco and Bob Howard, two gentlemen I know through a local group called Veterans and Patriots United, who were Commissioners on the Commission. As other forums of a similar structure have been over time, this panel-oriented discussion was described as a “hearing.” The stated purpose was the formal presentation of a plan to balance the federal budget and cut $9.7 trillion in spending over 10 years.

However, by 1:30 PM, the meeting had effectively been down by staffers who said on camera that they were doing it under the direction of the Rules Committee Chairman—Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). According to an email with a timestamp of 1:03 PM, from Chief Clerk Lynden Armstrong to Spencer Stokes, the “Tea Party Budget Hearing” was “simulating a hearing” and “events of this nature are political” and not allowed by order of the Rules Committee. Another email at 1:11 PM has Armstrong telling Stokes and Ryan McCoy that they had to “pull the plug on the event.”

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) engaged Armstrong and Shaun Parkin on video, as Lee contended with them over their decision and actions. In the video, Armstrong informs Senator Lee that “The Chairman tells us that this event has to be moved” and Armstrong identifies Senator Schumer as the Chairman.

The meeting was moved. Senator Lee led the 200 attendees over to Hillsdale College.

I believe when people hear some of the specifics of the proposal, especially the Medicare Reform plan, we will understand very quickly why Schumer felt it necessary to see that the meeting not take place, at least not on Capitol Hill, and certainly not on C-SPAN. I believed Schumer was afraid of specifics.

However, Sam told me he thinks it’s a bit more general than that:

“I think it was contempt for us and what we stand for. All we wanted to do was provide a path forward for those who could not or would not provide it for themselves. They prevented us from sharing that with the world.”