Alabama’s Gary Palmer Presses Obamatrade’s Chief Advocate: Why No Transparency?

Matt Boyle/Breitbart News
Matt Boyle/Breitbart News

In an open letter obtained by Breitbart News, Congressman Gary Palmer (R-AL) addressed Ambassador Michael Froman, the United States Trade Representative, asking for greater access to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) via email through an apparent loophole as the vote in the House rapidly approaches.

In the letter, Rep. Palmer (R-AL) requested that a copy of the text be emailed to him for further review and cited that TPP addresses a number of areas which range from immigration, labor, and the environment—issues that he thinks lawmakers should not have limited access on.

Palmer elaborated on the highly secretive nature of the bill that explicitly affirms that only members of Congress and cleared staff have access to the highly guarded room without having the ability to take notes or to discuss the dense contents are several hundred pages long.

“I had the opportunity to review TPP, but only someone with a photographic memory could recall all that is necessary to make a decision on whether to support over 500 pages of legislative text,” Palmer writes in the letter.

“Without revealing any of the legislative content revealed in the document, I note that each section of the document contains identical language on confidentiality. That language essentially states that there is to be no unauthorized disclosure of the language, but that the documents might be emailed or faxed in an unclassified manner or discussed through unsecure phone lines. It does not require the material be maintained in a locked container. That the document can be transmitted through unsecure means appears to indicate that the material is not really classified.”

The letter continued:

I am writing to request that you email me a copy of the TPP. I agree to secure it in a locked container. If you are unwilling to provide me a copy of the material, as part of your response, please provide an explanation on why the document, if secure or classified, has been allowed to be transmitted in an unsecure fashion and provide a list of people it has been emailed or faced to and a list of the people who have engaged in unsecure phone conversations regarding that document.

Whether or not Congressman Palmer (R-AL) succeeds in obtaining the text ahead of the vote in the house tomorrow is yet to be seen.

Palmer does, however, raise vital points in the debate of the concealment of the text from the public and whether or not a lawmaker can grasp a full understanding of what the document contains without being able to take notes or discuss it with fellow members of Congress to debate crucial points.


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