An unusual House hearing next week will feature reporters testifying before a congressional committee hearing instead of covering it.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's probe of barriers to receiving federal documents under the Freedom of Information Act features three journalists and New York Times assistant general counsel David McCraw among the witnesses on June 2.
One journalist is Sharyl Attkisson, a former CBS investigative reporter and author of Stonewalled, a 2014 book celebrated by conservatives that targets Obama administration "efforts to monitor journalists, intimidate and harass opposition groups, and spy on private citizens."
Vice News investigative reporter Jason Leopold and Newsweek investigative reporter Leah McGrath Goodman will also testify, according to the committee.
The June 2 piece of the two-day hearing will also feature other experts and advocates from groups including Judicial Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union, the FOIA Resource Center, and the National Security Archive at George Washington University.
According to the committee, the hearing will explore delays, backlogs, excessive redactions, and other problems with requests for documents from federal agencies under FOIA. A second session on June 3 will include witnesses from federal agencies, but that list has not been made public.
But the administration has come under criticism from journalists, lawmakers, and transparency advocates over its responsiveness to the open-records law.
The Sunlight Foundation's Bill Allison wrote earlier this year that the administration has made strides but nonetheless "has picked up where its predecessor left off in stonewalling the media, avoiding disclosure, and thwarting accountability."
The administration's response to FOIA requests has come under fresh scrutiny with the disclosure that Hillary Clinton used a private email server to conduct State Department business while secretary of State.
It's a FOIA lawsuit by Leopold, of Vice News, that prompted a federal judge this week to order a schedule of rolling State Department disclosures of Clinton's messages.
However, the hearing is unlikely to focus heavily on the State Department's handling of Clinton's records, which is the domain of the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
Separately, The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Clinton aides at State scrutinized "politically sensitive documents requested under public-records law and sometimes blocked their release."
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