On behalf of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, I formally request that you provide me with all calendar information from your office regarding your schedule from July 14th - July 16th, 2013. I am particularly interested in your schedule for the night of July 15th, 2013 when you failed to appear for a mandatory quorum vote and failed to participate in a critical, bipartisan caucus meeting on Senate filibuster changes. This request includes, but is not limited to, any written or electronic correspondence from your office that may determine your whereabouts during the time that you were supposed to be representing New Hampshire at this important meeting.
The Associated Press (7/16/13) reported yesterday that your spokesman "refused to elaborate" on an unknown "schedule conflict" that prevented you from attending this filibuster summit. The Hill (7/15/13) reports that 97 of your 99 Senate colleagues returned to Washington in time for a mandatory "live' quorum vote and to participate in a rare, joint caucus meeting on making dramatic changes to the filibuster rules for approving presidential appointees. According to the National Journal, (7/15/13) "live" quorum votes are mandatory and Senators can be arrested and brought to the Senate floor if they are absent.
The other two Senators who missed the summit, a Republican and a Democrat, immediately explained their absences. But for some reason you have remained suspiciously silent, dodged questions from the media and refused to discuss why you skipped this important event. You spokesman has only said that Senate Democrat "leadership was aware" of your absence prior to last night's meeting. But if you can tell Harry Reid why you were unable to do your job, you should be able to share the same excuse with your constituents.
In May of this year, you wrote a letter to President Obama calling on him to increase government transparency. In your letter, you wrote:
"Transparency is a foundational principle of our democracy. The American public has a right to access official records in order to provide appropriate oversight of their elected officials. Secrecy in our government should be limited, and used only when absolutely necessary to protect our national interest,"
We agree with your statement on government transparency. In order to avoid looking like a hypocrite, you should hold yourself to the same standard and honor our request for your official schedule. The people of New Hampshire have a right to know why you failed to execute the required duties of your elected office.
Senator Shaheen, the issue here is simple. You are a public official who is paid by taxpayers. You let New Hampshire down by missing a critical summit that was attended by almost every other United States Senator. You won't explain why you skipped this meeting, and say where you were at a time when you should have been working for your constituents. Clearly, you have not been honest about this matter, and your silence suggests that you have something to hide.
Your response to this request will serve as an important indication of how truly committed you are to open and transparent government. However, if you end your suspicious silence and offer an honest and detailed explanation for your troubling absence, I will withdraw this request.
New Hampshire Republican State Committee