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She said in an emailed statement to CQ Roll Call: “In answer to your question, as the notice indicates, the Architect of the Capitol intends to remove the newspaper dispensers located on First Street, S.E., in accordance with Section 5104(c) to Title 40 of the United States Code that prohibits all advertisement on Capitol Grounds. The proliferation of boxes has grown significantly over the past several years and some are not affiliated with media organizations, therefore it was determined that the Code would be adhered to following a notification and voluntary removal period ending July 10, 2013.”
When asked if it had anything to do at all with security considerations, Malecki said in a follow-up email, “It has to do with advertising.”
The affected vendors by and large weren’t aware of the impending removal of their newspaper boxes until contacted by CQ Roll Call.
The Capitol press galleries weren’t informed of the AOC’s decision, according to conversations with representatives from the daily and periodical galleries, and first heard about the AOC’s decision from CQ Roll Call.
“We consult with the AOC on a lot of things, and we support them in this decision,” said Officer Shennell S. Antrobus, a spokesman for the Capitol Police.
Pedro Ribeiro, a spokesman for Washington Mayor Vincent Gray, told CQ Roll Call, “This is the first the city is hearing of this. We’re happy to look into it, but our understanding is that sidewalk is under the jurisdiction of the AOC.”
A person in the business office of The Washington Times said they were unaware of the decision and had no comment on it.
A representative of China Daily said, “Nobody has contacted us,” and expressed surprise that so many dispensaries would be removed. Calls to The Washington Post, Washington Blade and Washington City Paper weren’t returned.
A representative of the Newspaper Association of America said the organization’s public policy team was reviewing the decision but otherwise had no comment.
Attempts to contact representatives at Metro for comment were unsuccessful.