11 April 2002
Kucinich Walks Out on Ridge Secret Meeting with House Committee


http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/04.17G.Walks.Out.htm


Kucinich Statement on Ridge Secret Meeting with House Committee

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), ranking member of the House Government
Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans' Affairs and International Relations today walked out of a Government Reform Committee briefing with Governor Tom Ridge, Director of the Homeland Security Office. Kucinich said Governor Ridge should testify publicly about the office. Kucinich said there was a ruling by the Chair that the meeting was not open because there was no official business being transacted. Kucinich then asked for a ruling from the parliamentarian, but did not receive one. The following is his statement about his departure from the briefing.

This is a very serious matter that a Director who speaks for the President on matters of national security is not accountable to the Congress, not accountable to the press and not accountable to the people. Homeland Security has a $38 billion budget. There's been no public process to review this $38 billion budget. So you have a Director who is not accountable to the Congress, not accountable to the press, and not accountable to the people.

I want to state that a free exchange of ideas behind closed doors may not in reality be free. It may in fact be a direct challenge to the doctrine of separation of powers that is a key and fundamental part of our democracy. And it's a challenge to the position of Congress as a coequal branch of government.

In a democracy, secret government is not an acceptable substitute for self-government. A wink is not an acceptable substitute for an oath.


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