The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
House of Representatives
United States Capitol
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Speaker Pelosi:
I am writing concerning the Select Committee to Investigate the Voting Irregularities of August 2, 2007, established by the House on August 3, 2007 to investigate the circumstances surrounding the overturned 215-213 vote on a Republican measure that sought to add language to the Agriculture Appropriations bill prohibiting illegal immigrants from receiving taxpayer-funded benefits.
Now that you and I have appointed six distinguished Members of the House to serve on the panel, I hope you will join me in ensuring that the select committee is provided all the resources necessary to complete its important work; and that you will agree to expand the inquiry’s scope to include several other troubling incidents occurring just prior to the August recess that were closely related to the controversy over the roll call vote that prompted creation of the Select Committee.
As you know, the House has customarily provided investigative select committees with professional staff as well as substantial financial resources in order to conduct the type of comprehensive, thorough inquiry Majority Leader Hoyer surely had in mind when he said on the House floor “I welcome the investigation. I applaud coming to the bottom of what happened…”
Accordingly, I propose that you and I jointly introduce a resolution to:
— Provide $1 million in funding for professional staff, consultants, and other expenses related to the inquiry.
— Authorize the Select Committee to retain, on a contractual basis, the services of professional investigators and other individuals with expertise relevant to the inquiry.
— Direct the Office of the Inspector General of the House to detail to the Select Committee, to the extent feasible, professional staff whose assistance could help expedite the inquiry.
— Authorize the detail (both full and part-time, as needed) from the offices of leaders, officers, committees, and Members of staff necessary to conduct the inquiry.
In light of the September 30, 2007 deadline for the Select Committee’s initial report to the House, we should strive to introduce the resolution and urge its passage by the House as soon as possible.
As you no doubt recall, Madame Speaker, the disputed roll call vote was just one of several exceedingly controversial events in the House that occurred in close succession in early August:
— During the first recorded vote the very next day, for example, the ordinarily reliable automatic voting system broke down, requiring a three hour suspension of legislative operations.
— Making matters worse, the account of that day’s deliberations in the Congressional Record for August 3, 2007 was altered substantially in a manner wholly inconsistent with the actual debate, as confirmed in recordings provided by the House Recording Studio.
— Finally, those same recordings plainly show the Speaker Pro Tempore declining to recognize a Member on his feet actively seeking to exercise his right under House Rules to propound a point of order.
Madame Speaker, our votes in the House are cast on behalf of the American people – and public confidence in the integrity of legislative actions in the House can only be restored by fully and aggressively investigating the circumstances surrounding each of these deeply disturbing events. Simply put, the Select Committee must follow the evidence wherever it leads – and it must have all the tools necessary to complete that critically important task. Restoring the bonds of trust between the American people and their elected representatives demands no less.
To that end, I hope you agree that we should urge the Select Committee to expand the scope of its important inquiry, and that you will join me in introducing immediately a resolution providing the panel with staff, funding and other resources essential to its mission.
John A. Boehner