House Appropriators Embrace Webcasting…For a Week.


Late last month we applauded the House Appropriations Committee for appearing to improve on its dismal record of webcasting hearings. As we noted, webcasting is an effective way to allow interested parties to access public hearings that are often essentially private because of space constraints.

Unfortunately, that praise was premature. We’ve been monitoring the committee’s progress since then, and were hopeful that we could close Sunshine Week by announcing that it had continued to webcast the vast majority of its hearings. That has not been the case.

During the last week of February, when the committee appeared to be turning a corner, every hearing listed on its schedule was webcast live. That trend ended almost as soon as it started.

In the first two weeks of March the committee only webcast 8 of the 24 hearings that it has held. Even worse, only 4 of its 17 open hearings over the past week have been webcast.

That means that during Sunshine Week the House Committee on Appropriations only managed to webcast 23% of its open proceedings.

This was unacceptable in 2012 when a Sunlight analysis found that the Appropriations Committee was the only House committee that did not webcast the vast majority of its hearings and it continues to be unacceptable today. We will continue to monitor the Appropriations committee until they prove that they have complied with House rules that require them to webcast their hearings “to the maximum extent practicable.”

Photo Credit: the test pattern is from Gak on Flickr.