Mark Meadows

Mark Meadows

NORTH CAROLINA's 11th DISTRICT

Meadows Introduces the Federal Transit Modernization Act

2015/03/26

Washington, DC— Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) introduced the Federal Transit Modernization Act on Thursday, which would allow transit agencies to partner with the private sector and save taxpayer dollars. The Federal Transit Modernization Act would repeal section 5333(b) of 49 U.S. Code, which currently makes it difficult for transit agencies to engage in competitive contracting with the private sector. Under current law, if a transit agency engages in competitive contracting that results in public sector employee layoffs, that transit agency could be forced to pay the terminated employees’ salaries for up to 6 years. “Transit agencies across the nation are in dire financial straits, yet they are prevented from enacting cost-cutting measures because of an outdated provision of federal law. Instead of being used to cut costs, spur innovation, and contribute to small business growth, taxpayer dollars are being misused to fulfill union interests,” Meadows said. “The Federal Transit Modernization Act will allow transit agencies to more freely engage in competitive contracting and decide how to best allocate federal grant funds in order to ensure that taxpayers get what they are paying for,” Meadows said. Reps. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Rick Crawford (R-AR), Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), Steve Pearce (R-NM), David Rouzer (R-NC), Matt Salmon (R-AZ), and Ted Yoho (R-FL) joined Rep. Meadows as original cosponsors of the bill. ### Read More

Bill Barring Pornography from Federal Agencies Advances through Committee

2015/03/25

Washington, DC— The Eliminating Pornography from Agencies Act, H.R. 901, which would prohibit federal employees from accessing pornographic or explicit material on government computers and devices, advanced through the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday. Last year, an Inspector General report revealed that one Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employee was viewing as much as 6 hours of pornography a day in his office on his government computer. The same federal employee was found to have downloaded as many as 7,000 pornographic files onto his government computer. To date, this employee has yet to be fired and we continue to learn of similar bad actors. “Over the last several months it has become far too obvious that the type of behavior that was first highlighted at the EPA has been discovered over and over again, across a host of agencies. To ignore this issue would not only condone an abuse of taxpayers’ dollars, but also embrace an unhealthy workplace. Today's action should send a clear message that it is time for zero tolerance of this kind of behavior,” Meadows said. “While there are rules in place at most agencies to ban this kind of unprofessional and unacceptable workplace behavior, it continues to take place. There is absolutely no excuse for federal employees to be viewing or downloading pornographic materials on the taxpayers’ dime,” Meadows said. “I’m grateful to Chairman Chaffetz for helping advance this important legislation and his continued leadership on improving accountability at federal agencies,” Meadows added. Congressman Mark Meadows serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee where he chairs the Subcommittee on Government Operations.   ### Read More

USA Today: Secret Service chief didn't query staff after car incident

2015/03/25

WASHINGTON — Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy told a House panel Tuesday that he never asked his senior staff whether they withheld information about a breach of an active bomb investigation at the White House complex before it was ultimately reported to him five days after the March 4 incident. Instead, Clancy told an outraged House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, he immediately referred the incident to the Department of Homeland Security inspector general to review the matter because he didn't want to appear as if he was pressuring anyone who might be a subject of an inquiry, the latest in a series of security breaches and agent misconduct cases to rock the agency. The acknowledgment prompted a new wave of questions from lawmakers who for most of the past week have been examining the director's handling of the breach — the first major test of his brief tenure — where two senior agents drove through the cordoned perimeter of the investigative scene, near the location of a suspicious package. The inspector general is reviewing whether the agents in the car were impaired, after coming from a nearby retirement party. One of the House members, Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., characterized the director's action as "engaging in willful ignorance.'' Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., asked Clancy whether the inquiry's referral to an inspector general was designed to avoid his own responsibility for the matter. "Was it to pull a Sgt. Schultz here, that you know nothing?'' Meadows asked. The contentious House hearing marked Clancy's third appearance before Congress in less than a week in which lawmakers repeatedly questioned the leadership of the director who was formally appointed to the post just over a month ago by President Obama. The selection of Clancy, who spent nearly 30 years with the agency before retiring in 2011, was designed to bring much-needed stability to the agency. Yet the March 4 incident — and Clancy's management of it — has provided only more information about the depth of the problems facing what was long regarded as one of the government's most elite agencies. Clancy himself seemed exasperated at one point during the questioning. "Has it always been this bad?'' Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., asked, after presenting a timeline of Secret Service's investigation of the bomb threat that showed that it took a week to obtain an arrest warrant for the woman who dropped the suspicious package outside a White House entry and identified it as a bomb. Authorities eventually determined that it was not a threat. "No,'' Clancy responded, adding that the workforce has been seriously taxed by a crushing workload and a culture in which agents and others are resistant to report their concerns to superiors. "I am infuriated that I didn't hear'' about the March 4 incident immediately after it happened. "We are working fiercely to break down these barriers.'' When asked basic questions about details of the incident, though, Clancy often was unable to provide them and indicated that the DHS' inspector general was now in charge of the inquiry. "We are waiting for the inspector general's report,'' Clancy repeatedly told lawmakers. The director's comment drew a vocal rebuke from committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. "The problem is we're still waiting,'' Chaffetz said, raising his voice. Referring to delays in apprehending the suspect who dropped the package that night, the chairman said he wanted such suspects "taken down.'' "Take 'em down,'' Chaffetz called out. "This is the United States of America. The threat is real.'' Clancy also was closely questioned about the agency's failure to preserve some images of the March 4 incident from its network of surveillance cameras posted around the White House complex. The director told the committee that the storage of such video would be increased from 72 hours to a week so that potential evidence would not be lost. Lynch, however, said the administrative action was not enough. He said the agency should be required to keep the surveillance footage for at least 30 days, as is required at other secure locations. At the same time, the committee released a brief clip of video, marking the start of the incident when at 10:24 p.m., the bomb threat suspect drove to the checkpoint and dropped the package. It ends a short time after the agents' vehicle slowly enters the scene and pushes aside the orange barrier marking the site of the inquiry. They "absolutely drove through an active investigation,'' Clancy said. Read More

Washington Post: Secret Service chief questioned over handling of White House incident

2015/03/25

Secret Service Director Joseph P. Clancy faced criticism from lawmakers Tuesday about his handling of the allegations that two agents disrupted a bomb investigation on the night of March 4 after driving into a White House security barrier. Clancy, making his third appearance before a congressional committee in two weeks, acknowledged under intense questions from lawmakers that he did not directly ask his senior managers for details about the incident. Clancy, who had previously said that he did not learn about the allegations until March 9, said Tuesday he had intended to await the findings of an inquiry by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general before deciding on possible discipline. “In my mind, I gave this to the IG,” he said. “I was content to wait.” But Democrats and Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee complained to Clancy that, while he didn’t know what happened, he was standing in their way of finding out. They criticized his decision not to allow key agency supervisors on duty the night of March 4 to come to the hearing to answer questions. Members said the lack of testimony from his supervisors, combined with Clancy’s acknowledgment last week that much of the surveillance video taken on the night of the incident had been recorded over, was making it difficult for Congress to scrutinize the seriousness and security risk of the event. “This is not just another oversight hearing about just another agency,” said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking Democrat on the committee. “I admire this president greatly. . . . I do not want anything to happen to him under my watch — or under yours.” Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said that Clancy also declined last week to bring the top agent in charge of President Obama’s security detail, Robert Buster, to attend a closed-door briefing on the incident. One of the two agents involved was a top member of the president’s detail. Chaffetz and several members said they also were frustrated that Clancy did not turn over a copy of the limited video footage the Secret Service says it still has from that evening. “By refusing to allow the witnesses we invited to testify — with first-hand knowledge of the incident — Director Clancy is keeping Congress and the American public in the dark,” Chaffetz said. “It is unclear why Director Clancy is choosing at the start of his tenure to be so unhelpful to Congress.” Much of what happened on the White House grounds after 10 p.m. on March 4 is unclear.   The two senior Secret Service agents had attended a colleague’s retirement party that night, and later drove onto the compound and into the temporary barricade blocking off an active investigation of a threatened bomb, officials have said. The inspector general is investigating allegations that Secret Service officers guarding the compound wanted to conduct sobriety tests on the agents but were ordered to let them go, officials have said. The episode has presented a test for Clancy, a long-time Secret Service veteran who was called out of retirement last fall to take over following a string of embarrassing missteps. Obama chose Clancy as the permanent new director last month, and has vowed to restore the agency’s reputation. Clancy said Tuesday he “can’t wave a magic wand” and fix all the cultural problems and significant distrust of leadership inside the agency. He said the Secret Service has been “my life’s work,” and he said that he is committed to restoring the agency to its early elite status. But lawmakers told Clancy they were disappointed in his performance following the March 4 incident. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.) said he was surprised to learn that Clancy had not sought information from his top deputies and remained concerned about the agency’s practice of recording over surveillance video. “I’m a little bit more than troubled by the willful ignorance here,” Lynch said. “You don’t ask questions and then you destroy evidence.” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) asked Clancy if he chose not to ask more questions “so you could pull a Sgt. Schultz, and say you know nothing?” Chaffetz also said documents turned over to the committee by the Secret Service on Monday suggest that the agency “botched” its handling of the bomb inquiry that night. For 17 minutes on the night of March 4, Chaffetz said, the Secret Service did not secure the area after a woman threw the suspicious package on the grounds, as dozens of cars drove by the area on the busy downtown Washington street and several pedestrians walked within feet of the package. The woman had yelled that it was a bomb and was able to flee the scene, according to a police report. Chaffetz said the Secret Service waited 11 minutes to call the Metropolitan Police Department’s bomb squad, but did not specify that someone had claimed it was a bomb. Read More

House Republicans support bipartisan investigative committee on Israel elections

2015/03/16

REPRESENTATIVES PITTENGER, BOST, FRANKS, HARTZLER, KING, LONG, MEADOWS, POSEY, RICE, ROSS, WALBERG, WALORSKI, WHITFIELD, AND WILSON URGE STATE DEPARTMENT AND OBAMA AFFILIATE TO COME CLEAN ON QUESTIONABLE FUNDING OF ANTI-NETANYAHU CAMPAIGN WASHINGTON – The U.S. State Department and a grassroots organization run by former operatives from President Obama’s campaigns has come under scrutiny as reports broke Saturday accusing the non-profit group, OneVoice Movement, of using taxpayer funded grants to influence Israeli elections with the intent of ousting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Today, 14 Members of Congress, including Representatives Robert Pittenger (NC-09), Mike Bost (IL-12) Trent Franks (AZ-08), Vicky Hartzler (MO-04), Steve King (IA-04), Billy Long (MO-07), Mark Meadows (NC-11), Bill Posey (FL-08), Tom Rice (SC-07), Dennis Ross (FL-15), Tim Walberg (MI-07), Jackie Walorski (IN-02), Ed Whitfield (KY-01), and Joe Wilson (SC-02) released the following statement: “As Members of Congress, we are greatly concerned to hear allegations of our own State Department spending American tax dollars that were then used to influence foreign elections.  Israeli elections should be left to the citizens of Israel and not the influence of U.S. taxpayer-funded grants which may be considered illegal. “We implore that OneVoice provide the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Chairman Rob Portman and Ranking Member Claire McCaskill a full accounting of their funding of Victory 15 and their political campaigning which appears to have as its objective to impact the outcome of the Israeli elections.  Promotional and website information, including their slogan, “replace the government,” provide clear indication of election organizing, beyond the legal status of a not-for-profit organization.” OneVoice Movement is a U.S. non-profit, tax-exempt organization with a subsidiary in Israel, that is reported now to be working with former Obama political operatives in V15 in Israel.  OneVoice has allegedly used $350,000 in State Department grants to actively support campaign efforts against Prime Minister Netanyahu, in violation of U.S. law.  In light of these allegations, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has launched a bipartisan investigation into the political activities of the organization. ### Read More

Meadows' Statement on ATF Reversal on Ammo Ban

2015/03/12

Washington, DC— After receiving more than 80,000 comments from concerned citizens, the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) pulled a proposed rule that would ban M855 "green tip" ammunition which is used for AR-15 rifles. Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) released the following statement: Today the American people received some excellent news. The Obama Administration announced that it will reconsider its highly controversial ammunition ban, after receiving an unprecedented 80,000 comments on the proposal from concerned citizens. This proposed ban was a blatant attempt to infringe upon Americans’ 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms. I was proud to sign onto a letter led by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) calling on the Director of ATF to pull this unconstitutional proposal. While this likely isn’t the end of the fight, this is a big victory and a great example of how getting involved and making your voice heard truly makes a difference. You can read Chairman Goodlatte’s letter to ATF Director B. Todd Jones here.   ### Read More

Macon News: Macon County Officials go to Washington

2015/03/10

Just a few weeks after setting state priorities, county officials from across North Carolina headed to Washington D.C. to attend the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference to discuss legislative goals with congressional representatives. Macon County was represented by Commission Chair Kevin Corbin and Vice-Chair Jim Tate along with County Manager Derek Roland who joined more than 150 officials from across the state for the conference. While Commissioner Ronnie Beale also attended the conference, he was pulling double duty. While also representing Macon County, Beale represented the entire state as the President of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC). "North Carolina was represented by over 150 county commissioners at the NACo Conference," said Beale. "They were there to speak to their congressmen and senators on everything from water quality issues to possible military base closures. We presented the congressional delegation with our 11 federal goals which were well received. Corbin, who sits on the NCACC Legislative Committee was very much involved in the process of developing Federal Legislative Goals to present last week in Congress. "As a member of the Legislative Goals Committee I was in the 'front seat' and, in some ways, the drivers seat to influence goals sent to Washington and Raleigh," said Corbin. "I pushed hard for language asking for federal and state lawmakers to not send unfunded mandates to local governments. We were successful on both levels. Meeting with them personally, we were able to explain the process of getting ideas and goals from all 100 N.C. counties. Our collective voice is quite influential, much more so than a single county speaking to an issue. We had 11 issues that we in N.C. pushed this year and were successful in getting support from our lawmakers on all 11." (See page 5) The event culminated with the NCACC's annual Congressional Breakfast on Tuesday, which was attended by 11 of the 15 members of the state's Congressional Delegation, including Congressman Mark Meadows, who represents Macon County. "Having officials from our district in Washington is so beneficial for the legislative process," said Meadows. "When I go back to my colleagues in the legislature, I can tell them that I spoke directly with my county officials face-to-face to address concerns on the local level and I think that carries more weight. Fostering relationships with local officials is the best way to service our constituency." Time spent with both Congressman Mark Meadows and Senator Thom Tillis, according to Roland, was the most beneficial portion of the trip. "Having the opportunity to personally sit down with our congressman and senator to discuss the real issues affecting Macon County," said Roland. Commissioner Tate also spoke to the importance of having one-on-one interaction with Macon County's congressional representatives. "Creating face to face relationships with our congressmen and senators," said Tate. "It is one thing to call or email them, but it is completely different to look them in their eyes, shake their hands and communicate the importance of issues to Macon County. " One significant focus of conversation for North Carolina leaders, especially those from Western North Carolina, centered around federal PILT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) funding. PILT funds are federal payments to local governments to help offset losses in property taxes due to non-taxable federal lands within county boundaries. The law was first enacted in 1976 and has provided crucial funding to counties for vital services such as firefighting and police protection, construction of public schools and road maintenance. Macon County, which is nearly 50 percent federal forest lands, depends on more than $300,000 a year in PILT funds. In the past few years, the program has been in limbo, only authorized on a year to year basis, leaving counties to deal with the uncertainty of the funds. "I think that the primary one that we focused on relaying to our representatives was the PILT money," said Tate. "If the federal government doesn't continue to provide these funds, then we as commissioners will basically be forced to raise taxes in order to continue to provide the level of services that we are now. When the federal government owns almost half of Macon County, I believe that it is imperative that they continue to financially assist us." Roland explained that for Macon County, the PILT funding is crucial to annual operations. "As a public service organization, our number one priority is to serve the citizens of Macon County," said Roland. Accounting for $337,000 of revenue in the current budget, Roland said PILT funding plays a key role in allowing the county to provide these much needed services. To put it into perspective, this amount would: annually fund county Legal, Human Resources, and Economic Development Departments pay the annual salary of 10 Sheriff’s deputies pay the annual salary of 10 EMT paramedics annually fund the county garage. "As you can see from these examples, $337,000 goes a long way in Macon County. In the absence of these funds our only options would be to reduce services or (B) raise the current tax rate by approximately $.03 (3/10 of 1 cent)," said Roland. Congressman Meadows, who has been a champion for the PILT funding since he was elected to office, noted that it is important to not only keep the funds available, but to also find a more long-term plan. "Right now the PILT funds are reauthorized yearly, but that causes trouble for county's who are trying to develop their budgets," explained Meadows. "They need to know if they can count on those funds. I think we need to see something more longterm. Right now, the plan we are looking at will reauthorize those funds for a five-year period. It is important for Congress to understand that the decisions we make ultimately affect everyone. Without those PILT funds, local governments may be forced to raise property taxes to make up for the decrease in funding. We need to do everything we can to keep those taxes as low as possible." PILT funding is one of the many issues which have benefited from local and federal conversations. "Two years ago, we [Macon County Commissioners] were instrumental in getting to Mark Meadows about the PILT money being potentially cut," said Commissioner Corbin. "He put together a meeting with Speaker of the House John Boehner and Mark almost single handedly stopped the cutting of PILT. He put together a group of congressmen (many from western states) that would have been adversely affected. That cut would have cost Western North Carolina millions of dollars and Macon County over $300,000. For now, our PILT money is still intact. Face to face meetings with our senators and congressmen like this are so beneficial. "One example, the cabin across the road from Dry Falls was put there by federal funds many months ago, but the work to make it a destination spot was not completed and it is not open. We discussed this with Mark and he made a call regarding this issue on the spot. We discussed the fact that large counties get 'mass transit' money from the federal government. We don’t have a rail system or even a bus system but there are federal dollars available for road improvements if your congressman asks for it. We asked Mark and he asked us to identify needs locally and get back to him. These were only a few of the issues we discussed with Mark over a two-hour lunch meeting with him in the Capitol." Roland noted that even more so than meeting with federal representatives, the conference helps build a network of officials that can help with future endeavors. "When making administrative or policy decisions at the local level, being able to contact county managers, or board members, not only from across the state but across the nation, is a tremendous asset as well. Odds are that someone, somewhere, has dealt with a similar situation, making their experience and advice invaluable," said Roland. "The more we network at conferences such as this one, the more we are connected. The more connected we become, the more opportunities we have for collaboration and discussion. I feel this collaboration and discussion is key to efficient and effective government.” Read More

Washington Examiner: EPA chairmen called to resign for using personal email

2015/03/10

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton isn't the only federal figure in hot water for using a personal email account to conduct official government business. Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee pressed Rafael Moure-Eraso, embattled director of the Chemical Safety Board, to resign Wednesday after it was learned he has used his personal email address to conduct government business and appears to have misrepresented the extent of that use in previous testimony before Congress. In an especially heated hearing, lawmakers blasted the agency leader for creating a culture that has driven nearly half of its employees to quit since 2011. Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, called the Chemical Safety Board "a dysfunctional, unfair and unproductive organization." "Until you leave this organization, these problems are going to persist," Chaffetz told Moure-Eraso. "There is something rotten to its core, and it is you." Several lawmakers questioned whether Moure-Eraso's used a personal email address to mask his business activities. Meadows demanded to know why Moure-Eraso's previous testimony was "inconsistent" with his subsequent actions. "Do you understand that you've violated the Federal Records Act? You've violated the law," Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said to Moure-Eraso during the hearing. But the safety board official denied knowing he was engaging in any illegal activity by declining to use his government email address. "I disagree with your premise that the purpose of using a personal email was to oppress people," Moure-Eraso said. Chaffetz played a video clip from a previous committee hearing in which the Chemical Safety Board head insisted the practice had long been discontinued. Moure-Eraso had then admitted to using his personal email address "out of ignorance at the beginning of my tenure." He claimed to have stopped using the account in January 2013. When Chaffetz pressed Moure-Eraso on whether he had conducted business with his personal account since that time, the Chemical Safety Board official said he would "have to check his records" because he didn't remember. But the inspector general told Chaffetz the official had used his account eight months longer than he had told the committee, and perhaps even as recently as 2014. "This is the pattern with you. Once you're presented with facts, then you change your story," Chaffetz said. Wednesday's hearing followed a critical Environmental Protection Agency inspector general report that highlighted Moure-Eraso's use of a personal email account among other management problems. Read More

Huffington Post: Nonprofit Tied To John Boehner Attacks His Foes In Homeland Security Fight

2015/03/10

WASHINGTON -- The politically active nonprofit closely tied to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is intervening to help the Republican Party leader as he battles conservatives in his own caucus over the passage of appropriations legislation for the Department of Homeland Security. American Action Network, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that does not disclose its donors, will spend $400,000 this week on television, radio and online advertisements. The ads will urge conservative Republicans to support DHS legislation that does not include a controversial provision reversing President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration. As first reported by Politico, the targets of the television ads are Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.). Digital ads will also run in the districts of Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), Tom Rice (R-S.C.) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.). The issue advertisements provide yet another example of how the world of political nonprofits and super PACs created by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision has become inseparable from the legislative process. Despite assertions from Justice Anthony Kennedy that the independence of these groups would nullify any suggestion or appearance of corruption, political nonprofits and super PACs have effectively become arms of political party leadership, providing one more way for lobbyists to direct client money to create action in Congress. As previously detailed by The Huffington Post, the relationships between Boehner, American Action Network and its super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, offer a textbook example of unlimited corporate and lobbyist money seeping into the legislative process. The issue advertisements urging uncooperative conservatives to support Boehner’s preferred legislative action, while not explicitly or implicitly electoral ads, are a further indication. At the conservative blog RedState, commentator Erick Erickson, who opposes Boehner’s move to push for a clean Homeland Security bill, wrote on Wednesday: “Everyone knows the attacks are coordinated on behalf of Rep. John Boehner (R-OH). They are not even trying to hide it.” In response to questions about whether there was coordination between Boehner's office and American Action Network, Dan Conston, a spokesman for the group, said in an email: "Of course not. We are an independent group and our actions are fully independent from others." Read More

Washington Examiner: Weighing the effectiveness of transparency act

2015/03/10

Lawmakers in the House weighed whether a bill that would "modernize" the Freedom of Information Act does enough to eliminate some of the procedural hurdles that journalists, citizens and advocacy groups face when requesting government records under the law. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sought to understand why less than a third of the roughly 700,000 FOIA requests filed each year are answered in full despite orders by President Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder that agencies should respond to such requests with a "presumption of disclosure." "It may not be headline-grabbing," Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said of the reform effort during the hearing Friday. "But it's important." The FOIA Reform Act of 2015 was reintroduced in the House and Senate in early February after both chambers unanimously passed similar versions of the bill last year but failed to strike a compromise before the 113th Congress ended. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., pressed panelists on ways to simplify the "logistical nightmare" of converting government documents — including records obtained through FOIA requests — to a format that enables them to be read aloud by software on computers of visually impaired people. The process, known as remediation, is mandatory under laws that require government documents to be made equally available to people with disabilities. Frederick Sadler, a former FOIA officer for the Food and Drug Administration, said the difficulty of remediating such a large volume of documents forces agencies to choose between violating laws that require them to publish documents while they attempt to convert the records or violating laws that require them to remediate the documents by publishing records without first doing so. Sadler cited an example in which posting a single 250,000 page document in compliance with the disability law required the help of a contractor and would have cost $90,000. "It almost sounds like it would be cheaper to have somebody read it out loud to them," Mulvaney said before suggesting the committee should explore "a better way" to approach the issue. Lawmakers hinted they may pursue additional strategies to strengthen the FOIA reform bill, which was co-sponsored by ranking minority Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., was among the several who questioned the scope of protections offered by the fifth of FOIA's nine exemptions, which allows the government to withhold all records that are considered to be part of the deliberative process. Rick Blum, director of the Sunshine in Government Initiative, told the Washington Examiner determining the basis for redactions under the "pre-decisional" fifth exemption can prove difficult. Blum highlighted the fact that the FOIA reform bill already contains a provision that sunsets the fifth exemption on records 25 years and older. But Blum, who also testified at the hearing Friday, isn't hoping for a lengthy debate about how the committee can further shape the bill. "I would hope that any issues get resolved quickly so this could move to the floor," he said, noting the reform effort has been in the works for many months. Blum echoed Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., when he highlighted the creation of a single online FOIA portal where people can file requests for any government agency. Blum said the website would allow individuals to "track their requests like an Amazon package." The Feb. 27 hearing marked the first time Meadows took the stand as chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations.A committee spokesman said the committee may debate and amend the bill next month. Read More

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Contact Information

1516 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-6401
Fax 202-226-6422
meadows.house.gov

After working as a small business owner for 27 years, Representative Mark Meadows brings a business-style approach to Washington, D.C.

From owning and selling a successful restaurant to building a development company, Mark understands what the 63.7 million people in the United States who are self-employed or work for small businesses need to grow their businesses.  He believes real job creation comes from the private sector, not the federal government.  Mark recognizes that regulations are stifling job growth in this country and without a budget to set spending priorities, our federal government will continue to spend beyond its means.

While serving on the Committees on Oversight and Government Reform, Foreign Affairs, and Transportation and Infrastructure, Mark will hold the government accountable, protect American citizens and interests abroad, and ensure we have a modern transportation network which meets the needs of Western North Carolina and our country as a whole.

He is dedicated to providing top-notch constituent services to North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District and committed to upholding his Christian values and conservative principles while serving in Congress.

Mark lives in Jackson County with his wife Debbie. They have two college-age children, Blake and Haley.


Serving With

Renee Ellmers

NORTH CAROLINA's 2nd DISTRICT

Walter Jones

NORTH CAROLINA's 3rd DISTRICT

Virginia Foxx

NORTH CAROLINA's 5th DISTRICT

Mark Walker

NORTH CAROLINA's 6th DISTRICT

David Rouzer

NORTH CAROLINA's 7th DISTRICT

Richard Hudson

NORTH CAROLINA's 8th DISTRICT

Robert Pittenger

NORTH CAROLINA's 9th DISTRICT

Patrick McHenry

NORTH CAROLINA's 10th DISTRICT

George Holding

NORTH CAROLINA's 13th DISTRICT

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