House slammed for failing to stream hearings online

Almost a quarter of all House hearings are not live-streamed online, according to a new study.

The Sunlight Foundation found that 49 out of 200 hearings over 20 days were not live-streamed, while 91 hearings since Jan. 17 were not archived on committee websites.

This is despite a January 2011 House rule “requiring that video coverage of hearings be available online.”

The foundation took Congress to task for failing to stream the hearings.

“The privately-run cable network C-SPAN cannot cover every hearing, and it’s unreasonable to expect people to travel to D.C. to be in attendance,” study authors Daniel Schuman and Cassandra LaRussa wrote. “Combined with cutbacks in newsroom staffs around the country, less prominent issues are unlikely to be covered by local media.”

Most of the hearings that were not live-streamed were hearings of the House Appropriations Committee.

Forty-seven out of 49 hearings that were not live-streamed were associated with that committee and 74 of the 91 hearings not archived were by the spending panel.

The study said Appropriations had diverged “from the House’s requirement” to publish video online to “‘the maximum extent practicable.’”

“The American people have a right to see what their government is doing. In the upcoming months, appropriators in particular will make important decisions about how trillions of dollars are spent,” Schuman and LaRussa wrote.

“It's time to allow everyone to watch this online in real-time, as promised in the House rules.”