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"Senator Schumer is shocked -- shocked! -- to find a simulated hearing going on here."
That's not a verbatim quote from the two grim-faced staffers who swooped down yesterday to turn off the microphones and shut down a hearing-like tea party gathering in the Russell Senate office building.
But it would be true to their meaning -- and their boss's hypocrisy.
The forbidden "simulated hearing" in question was a meeting convened by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and other Senators and Congressmen to receive the findings of the Tea Party Debt Commission.
The two staffers, from the Rules Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), informed Sen. Lee that the room setup for the meeting looked to them too much like a "simulated hearing," which, they said, is prohibited under Senate rules. Sen. Lee informed them it was a policy discussion, not a "hearing" in the official sense, nor was anyone trying to pretend otherwise. The staffers instructed the Capitol Police to remove the participants' name cards from the tables and turn off the microphones. Sen. Lee asked them who had told them to do this? They replied: "The Chairman," i.e., Senator Schumer. After some back and forth, Sen. Lee and his guests decided not to make a stink about the wrongful eviction. Cutting their losses, they held the meeting off-site.
Afterward, we did some research, and guess what? We found fake "hearings” that Sen. Schumer failed to shut down -- because he was participating in them:
And these simulated hearings Sen. Schumer also failed to shut down:
And, well, there's a ton of similar hearings recorded on the Web. See for yourself by googling Dorgan "democratic policy committee" Schumer hearing.
Come to think of it, these subversive gatherings known as "simulated hearings" turn out to be pretty frequent occurrences on Capitol Hill!
We also googled the names of those two grim-faced staffers. Guess what? Turns out one of them -- Hypocrisy Alert! -- used to work for one of the Senators who led one of the above-mentioned fake hearings.
And the other staffer used to work for Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT), who was defeated for reelection last year by . . . Sen. Mike Lee.
Hmm. The plot thickens.
And just what was it that Sen. Lee and his colleagues were trying to learn about, and that Sen. Schumer was (apparently) trying to keep you from hearing about?
UPDATE (11/19): Subsequent to our posting this report, Sen. Schumer told reporters his s taffers had acted without his knowledge.
This, of course, means either that they were lying, or he is.
Your tax dollars at work.
Dean Clancy is FreedomWorks' Legislative Counsel and VP Health Care Policy.
(Thanks to Max Pappas, FreedomWorks' Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs, for passing along this research.)