Thursday, May 11, 2006

Updating Hooley Story: She's In

This deserves a separate post, both to prominently correct the record and make a point about bloggers and politicians, and their roles of interaction. As you can read below, this morning I posted a piece asking why Rep. Hooley (OR-4) was not a signee to Rep. Conyers' NSA amicus brief filed last night in two court cases against the Bush administration. In reply, Hooley's chief of staff Joan Mooney Evans commented on our story, after hundreds had come by from Firedoglake to check it out.

Having spoken with Ms. Evans before, I gave her a call after seeing the comment. Her first words to me (after 'hello') were, "I like what you did the last time you wrote something about called me first. I wish you had done that this time." As she notes in the comment, Hooley indeed has signed on (Evans called it "a no-brainer"), and is in fact the only OR co-sponsor of Conyers' LISTEN (Lawful Intelligence and Surveillance of Terrorists in an Emergency by NSA) Act. To explain why her name was not among the original signees, Evans said the brief was only circulated for a couple of days, and was not truly passed around like many other bills or statements are. According to Evans, "if it had been, a heck of a lot more than 72 people would have signed on."

But what really struck me was what she said next: "I consider the blogs as press, so if you have a question I'm also her press spokesperson, and you can call me any time. " I consider I nearly dropped the phone. You can probably count on one hand the number of top Congressional staff who would say such a thing. At that point I felt a little ashamed. Why did I bother talking to the poor phone lackey in DC, when I could have talked to Hooley's right-hand woman? (Well, the truth is I forgot I had her number).

So, to set the record straight: Hooley is a very willing signee to the amicus brief, and in the forefront of the attempt to force accountability on the administration as regards surveillance. I asked if there was any kind of link to ratify her signature to the brief, and Evans said their IT people were not available for a while, so there wasn't any statement up on the web. But she said that Judiciary Committee staff know the latest on who's signed and who hasn't, so if you really want confirmation you could try them.

To Rep. Hooley, good show. To Ms. Evans, apologies for not checking with you before publishing, and a warning that you can count on hearing from us in the future when the need arises. To Jane and the folks at firedoglake, sorry for jumping the gun a little bit (or at best pressuring Hooley to get on board quickly). It's nice to know that some people are willing to treat us like press, and we have an obligation to uphold that trust.

Update, 5/12 830AM--
Updating the update, I contacted Jonathan Godfrey with the House Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, who confirmed Rep. Hooley's committment to the brief by saying "Representative Hooley did reach out to us to express her support." I asked if that was done yesterday, and he said yes. I have a little suspicion now that Hooley may have been nudged by our coverage, but that's just ego-feeding. The important thing is that she's signed on. Godfrey also confirmed the IT issue keeping updates on signatories from being posted, but promised a new list would be up soon.