Dems: GOP chair hiding Planned Parenthood footage

Top House Democrats are accusing the chairman of the House Oversight Committee of refusing to share the unedited footage from the recent undercover videos targeting Planned Parenthood.

“Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz has in his possession right now, a computer hard drive that contains videos produced by David Daleiden, the head of the group that tried to entrap Planned Parenthood,” Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) declared from the House floor, interrupting the chamber’s debate on legislation expanding the investigation into Planned Parenthood.

{mosads}Chaffetz, who is running for House Speaker, received a copy of the videos on Sept. 25, and has since declined to share a copy with the Democrats, according to a Democratic committee aide. 

Instead, Chaffetz has said he will set up a “viewing room” for Democratic members and staff to view the videos. Republicans have not yet hosted a screening, the aide said, calling the move a “direct violation” of the Democrats’ recent subpoena of Daleiden’s unedited footage.

A Republican committee aide confirmed that the viewing sessions haven’t been scheduled, but added that Republicans haven’t watched the footage yet, either.

The committee does plan to watch that footage, as well as the footage recently unlocked by a court order, with Democrats over the next few weeks, the aide said.

Democrats have repeatedly asked for copies of unedited footage from the secretly recorded meetings with Planned Parenthood officials and an anti-abortion group. That group, The Center for Medical Progress, has released 10 videos, each about 10 minutes long, which appear to show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the price of fetal tissue.

It’s unclear if the footage given to Republicans last week is the full unedited footage that has been requested by Democrats, because Daleiden has been blocked from releasing at least some of the footage per a court order. That order was lifted Tuesday night.

“We don’t know what the videos are because, despite the fact that the videos were delivered two weeks ago, the Republicans have yet to set up their ‘viewing room,'” the aide said.

Both parties acknowledge that the videos posted on YouTube are highly edited, and Democrats believe that the full footage will disprove allegations against Planned Parenthood.

“Those videos are the property of the committee, but [Chaffetz] is refusing to give the Democratic members a copy of those videos,” Slaughter said. “Those tapes are being hidden away. It appears that the Republicans don’t want the Democrats to be able to see those videos.”

The new criticism against Chaffetz and the Oversight Committee came during debate over a House bill to establish a select committee to investigate Planned Parenthood in the wake of the videos. That bill is expected to pass, largely on party lines.

—Updated Thursday at 11:20 a.m.

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