Republicans in the House pledged at the start of the 112th Congress to make their reign over the chamber the most transparent in history. In the Senate, a newly retired lawmaker also picked up on the message.
Former Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, I-Conn., who officially retired Jan. 3, intends to turn over to the National Archives and Records Administration all the emails he sent and received since he took the gavel of what was then the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee in 2001. Lieberman was the chairman of the panel in January 2001 and from June 2001 to January 2003, when Democrats were in the majority during that time. When Democrats reclaimed the Senate majority in 2007, he took the gavel of what had become the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and held the top slot through Jan. 3.
In a statement Monday, Lieberman said Senate Archivist Karen Paul confirmed that he will be the first committee chairman to take these steps.
“I have long been a proponent of open government and transparency,” Lieberman said. “And because so much of our work is conducted electronically, it seemed logical for me to include my emails as part of my Senate archives.
“It’s time Senators archive their emails . . . so the full, vibrant history of the Senate can continue to be written,” he continued.
The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee covers a wide swath of subject areas, from national and international security to the administration of federal agencies to the Postal Service.
The emails, which will not be released to the public for 20 to 50 years, will likely paint a picture of the panel’s work during watershed historical moments that defined Lieberman’s tenure as chairman — especially as it restructured in the aftermath of 9/11.