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Capitol Press Galleries Jump Into DOJ Phone Records Controversy

The House and Senate Press Galleries sent a letter Wednesday to Deputy Attorney General James Cole to express “deep concern” over reporters’ phone records from the Capitol being obtained by the Justice Department.

The letter was co-signed by representatives for daily print, periodical print, radio and television correspondents, as well as press photographers.

“We are concerned the incursions by the Justice Department in this case jeopardize the relationship between reporters and anonymous sources, decreasing the likelihood that people will come forward with vital information of public importance,” the letter read. “The press must be secure in its ability to conduct its business within the space provided solely for that business. This critical work of reporters is protected by the First Amendment. Please explain how the unparalleled use of your investigative power is constitutionally consistent.”

The galleries’ concern stems, in part, from the fact that the DOJ’s secret acquisition of AP telephone records included records from lines into the congressional press galleries.

Full letter here:

Cong. Galleries Letter to DOJ 5.15.2013[1]

Disclosure: CQ Roll Call Hill Life Editor Jason Dick is a member of the Executive Committee of Periodical Correspondents and CQ Roll Call staff writer John Donnelly is a member of the Standing Committee of Correspondents.

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