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GOP Clashes Over Publicizing Schedules

In a second e-mail, dated July 28, Conference staff said they had received “hundreds of public events” from Members and detailed how each event would be added to an online public map — but only after the events took place.

“Every Monday we will update the calendar with all the events that happened the week prior,” the e-mail said. “This map will build over the 6 weeks and assist our narrative that House Republicans are listening to the concerns of Americans while the Democrats hide from their constituents.”

The e-mail again assured Members that the activities would not be made public without the their consent and encouraged them to contact the Conference with any concerns. As of late last week, Buck said Members had offered up a list of about 300 scheduled events.

Still, some Members aren’t happy.

“Yeah right. Once you give it over, it’s available somewhere,” Simpson said.

After a series of rowdy town halls last August, House Republicans have accused Democrats of “hiding” in their districts instead of engaging the public. House Democrats have furiously denied this charge and pointed to hundreds of constituent meetings that their Members have held in recent months.

One Republican Member said that beyond announcing events, creating a map of town halls could misrepresent the amount of work that lawmakers did over the break because private events or informal meetings would not show up.

This lawmaker said, “It wasn’t very well-thought-out.”

But even with the grumbling, not all Republicans are worried about publicizing their schedules.

“I gave them my schedule. I’m not hiding from anybody,” Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) said. “I had a rat show up one time with people wearing cheese hats. It’s America.”

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