By JOHN DiSTASO
Senior Political Reporter
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FRONTPAGE

July 18. 2013 2:14AM

Shaheen’s schedule getting scrutiny by NHGOP

The state Republican Party chairwoman has written a letter to Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen asking for her schedule earlier this week, when she was one of two senators to miss a closed-door meeting of the full U.S. Senate on the contentious filibuster issue.

A deal was eventually worked out and the so-called “nuclear option” threatened by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was averted. Shaheen’s spokesman has said she had a “scheduling conflict” that the Senate leadership was aware of, but did not detail the reason she missed the meeting.

The state Democratic Party labeled as a “another petty stunt” a Wednesday morning letter from NHGOP chairman Jennifer Horn to Shaheen, which the GOP said was faxed to her Washington office. A Shaheen spokesman confirmed the letter was received.

The Shaheen spokesman declined to comment on the Horn letter or say whether it will be answered and whether the request for information will be granted.

The GOP request was filed under the Freedom of Information Act, but since the law applies only to executive branch agencies and not to Congress, Shaheen is not required to produce the requested information.

However, the law does not prohibit her from voluntarily doing so.

In the letter, Horn asks Shaheen to “provide me with all calendar information from your office regarding your schedule from July 14 to July 16, 2013. I am particularly interested in your schedule for the night of July 15, 2013, when you failed to appear for a mandatory quorum (call) and failed to participate in a critical, bipartisan caucus meeting on Senate filibuster changes. This requests 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.”

Horn wrote that “for some reason you have remained suspiciously silent, dodged questions from the media and refused to discuss why you skipped this important event. Your spokesman has only said that Senate Democrat leadership was aware of your absence prior to (the) 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.”

Horn noted that in May, Shaheen wrote a letter to President Barack Obama calling on him to increase government transparency.

Horn noted that the letter said, “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.”

jdistaso@unionleader.com


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