See more of our coverage on the effects of the misleading Center for Medical Progress videos here.
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) said on the House floor Wednesday that congressional Republicans are refusing to give Democrats copies of what could be the full, unedited source footage of the deceptive videos attacking Planned Parenthood.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued a subpoena last month to David Daleiden, head of the anti-choice front group known as the Center for Medical Progress, for all of the unedited videos he has that relate to the acquisition, preparation, and sale of fetal tissue.
Daleiden delivered these videos to the committee on September 25, Slaughter said—but he only provided the videos to the committee’s Republicans, in direct violation of the subpoena. That subpoena reads, “Two sets of documents shall be delivered, one set to the Majority Staff and one set to the Minority Staff.”
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Then, Slaughter said, Chaffetz refused to open the package containing the videos until two weeks later. Now his staff is refusing to give copies of the videos, which Chaffetz “has in his possession right now on a computer hard drive,” to Democratic committee members.
“On what authority are the Republicans refusing to provide the Democrat members of the body a copy of the videos?” Slaughter asked. “And we know that Republicans actually have no authority to do that.”
“Republicans are requiring Democrats to go to a Republican-controlled viewing room, thereby prohibiting them from releasing the videos to the American people,” a Democratic aide told Rewire. “By the Chairman’s own subpoena, Democrats are entitled to a copy.”
Some of the footage may be blocked from public release regardless, due to a restraining order preventing the release of footage featuring National Abortion Federation (NAF) members and meetings. Chaffetz, when he issued the subpoena, cited that restraining order and said that his intent was to demand transparency from NAF and Planned Parenthood.
It’s not clear which footage committee Democrats would have the authority to release if they had copies. It’s also not clear whether the videos in Chaffetz’s possession are, in fact, unedited source footage. A forensic investigation found that even the “unedited” videos that Daleiden released online were altered, meaning that they had no evidentiary value unless the source footage was made available.
“We believe that the videos will show how Mr. Daleiden deceptively edited his videotapes to distort the truth, but those tapes are being hidden away,” Slaughter said.
Chaffetz’s office did not respond to a request for comment by publication.