The Tennessee Star sent a letter on Thursday to State Rep. Cameron Sexton (R-Cookeville), Chairman of the Tennessee House Republican Caucus, asking that he make Monday’s House Republican Caucus meeting called to discuss Speaker Glen Casada open to the public.
“On behalf of our readers and all Tennesseans, I am requesting the meeting of the Tennessee House Republican Caucus scheduled for Monday, May 20 be open to the public and available for live audio and video broadcast,” Tennessee Star CEO and Editor-in-chief Michael Patrick Leahy said in the letter, dated Thursday May 16.
“Though the May 10 letter sent to you by State Rep. Jerry Sexton and 11 other members of the Tennessee Republican House Caucus asked that the meeting be closed to the public, it is clear, based on recent actions, that such a request for privacy will not be honored by some participants, and that the proceedings of the meeting will be made available to other media outlets in either a live or recorded format,” Leahy continued.
“Therefore, the only result of any decision to attempt to keep the meeting closed will be the leaking of the meeting results to some, but not all, media,” Leahy added.
The Star offered this evidence “that previous private Caucus matters have been leaked to other media outlets:”
- Reporters from The Tennessean were provided the call-in code for the House GOP Conference Call held earlier this month, without the disclosure by the members of the Caucus who leaked these details to other members of the Caucus that The Tennessean was listening in.
- The May 10 letter from State Rep. Jerry Sexton and 11 others requesting a meeting of the full Caucus was almost immediately leaked to the press, and has been published in full by at least one outlet, The Tennessee Journal, despite the clear disclaimer in the body of the letter that it was a private and confidential communication to GOP House Caucus members only, and not to be disseminated beyond the Caucus.
“The proceedings of the May 20 House Republican Caucus meeting are almost certain to be made available to selected media outlets. The effect of your granting our request will be to guarantee that all media outlets will be able to have live access to those proceedings, not a select few,” The Star’s Leahy concluded.
Chairman Sexton has not yet responded to The Star’s request.
You can read a full copy of the letter here:
[pdf-embedder url=”https://tennesseestar.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/GOP-Caucus-Chairman-Cameron-Sexton-Letter-from-The-Tennessee-Star-May-16.pdf” title=”GOP Caucus Chairman Cameron Sexton Letter from The Tennessee Star May 16″]
– – –
Background Photo “Tennessee House Floor” by Ichabod. CC BY-SA 3.0.