EPIC Asks Senate Rules Committee to Investigate Tech Task Force’s Closed-Door Meetings

August 1, 2019

EPIC, the Center for Digital Democracy, and the Consumer Federation of America have written to the Senate Rules Committee regarding a closed-door meeting of a Senate “Tech Task Force.” The groups allege that the meeting violated the Senate Rules of Procedure for open meetings, public notice, and recording of Committee meetings. As EPIC and the groups explained, "the Senate Rules of Procedure establish a strong presumption that meetings of the Senate shall be open to the public." There are six narrow exceptions to this rule, none of which apply to the meeting of the “Judiciary Committee Tech Task Force” held on July 18, 2019 in the hearing room of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The meeting included four industry lobbyists, members of the Senate and their staff. The public and the press were not notified of the meeting, nor were they invited, nor was a record of the meeting created. EPIC, CDD, and CFA asked the Rules Committee to open an investigation and make a determination, and then instruct the Member to conduct meetings in accordance with the Senate Rules and Regulations. The groups said "Open meetings, public notice, and hearing records are central to the integrity of the United States Senate.” The groups wrote earlier to the Senator who organized the Tech Task Force, expressing support for the initiative but also urging her to establish a more "open, inclusive process."

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