Democrat Strategist Agrees With Matt Gaetz’s Plans for the House

Democrat Strategist Agrees With Matt Gaetz's Plans for the House

( – C-SPAN was allowed to bring cameras into the House chamber the first week of January to cover the election of a new speaker, then-Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). The network removed the cameras shortly after the final vote, leaving only two fixed cameras aimed at the front of the room. However, on January 10, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) introduced a measure to allow C-SPAN cameras to capture lawmakers during normal day-to-day operations. Curiously, a noted Democratic strategist supports his plan.

Democratic operative Karen Finney told CNN host Jake Tapper she agreed with Gaetz “100% on this one.” Chuckling, she also noted that she never thought those words would ever come out of her mouth.

Finney is no stranger to liberal politics. She served as former First Lady Hillary Clinton’s press secretary. She also worked as a senior spokesperson and advisor for political outreach and communication for Clinton’s failed 2016 bid for the White House against Donald Trump. Similarly, she worked for former Sen. John Edwards’ (D-NC) wife during his 2004 presidential campaign.

Finney also served a four-year stint as the spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee (DNC). She was the first African-American to hold that position. She helped lead the Democrats’ successful run during the 2006 congressional elections, promoted then-DNC Chair Howard Dean’s “50 State Strategy,” and spearheaded Democratic communications efforts during Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

With that impressive history, Finney’s decision to embrace Gaetz’s amendment could persuade other Democrats to support the measure. So far, top Democrats haven’t spoken out about the amendment. However, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) announced his plan to introduce a bill allowing C-SPAN to capture the entire chamber in a January 9 tweet. According to a recent post, four other House Dems agreed to back his measure.

According to Roll Call, C-SPAN Co-CEO Susan Swain sent a letter to Speaker McCarthy for authorization to “cover House floor proceedings on behalf of [its] network.” She promised to share the video with all “Congressionally-accredited news organizations.” Her letter also noted that she submitted the same request to his predecessors “without success.”

For now, the authority to decide how and when cameras and microphones operate remains with the speaker, giving a tactical edge to the party that controls the House. For instance, former Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) refused to record a Democratic-led sit-in protest over pending gun control legislation in June 2016, denying them video coverage of their stunt.

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