Rep. Matt Gaetz talks about the need for transparency and his actions during recent weeks surrounding the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

"The very word secrecy is offensive and repugnant to a free and open society. We as a people are inherently and historically opposed to secret proceedings."


Uttered over 60 years ago, President John F. Kennedy’s statement remains relevant. Throughout my career, I have shared the American people’s deep aversion to government secrecy that President Kennedy described, as well as the conviction that transparency and openness are not, and should never become, partisan issues — rather, they are pillars of a free society.


It’s why as a lawyer, alongside now-United States Attorney, Lawrence Keefe, I prosecuted civil litigation cases against corrupt politicians who destroyed public records and illegally schemed back-room deals. In Walton County, they remain under court-ordered remedies that my team litigated and won.


I will not sit powerless while the Deep State, the Fake News media, or the Democratic Socialists in Congress try to undermine and overturn the 2016 election.https://t.co/6mHxFH2HR6

— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) November 5, 2019

There are times when it is right to shield sensitive intelligence or national security-related information. Northwest Floridians supporting our military mission know this well. But too often, government officials from Walton County to Washington D.C. execute corrupt acts large and small by hiding in the shadows.


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Was Trump-hating former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s purchase of a taxpayer-funded sixty-thousand dollar desk a national secret? The FBI thought so. They redacted this extravagance from records they turned over to Congress, for no good reason other than to try to save face. Yet the McCabe/Strzok/Page "insurance policy" meeting was not recorded and detailed; instead, the plotters huddled like rats in "Andy’s office" to scheme a coup.


With the Russia Hoax having been exposed through public hearings, Rep. Adam Schiff now holds secret depositions in the basement of the Capitol. Three-fourths of the House can’t attend or access evidence. The anti-Trump press wait outside like pigeons, passively waiting for crumbs of leaked information. How could my hatred of this surprise anyone? Behind those doors, they’re trying to overturn an election!


My transparency hawkishness used to be heralded by the media — until transparency was viewed as a positive for President Trump.


The First Amendment Foundation, funded by Florida Newspapers, praised me for voting against Republican leadership in our state legislature when exemptions to the "Sunshine Law" were advanced. CNN gleefully covered my public statement that President Trump should release his tax returns. The Daily News editorial staff even nominated my client, Suzanne Harris, for national award as a transparency bulldog. She won.


President Trump has contorted the media into abandoning its own long-held principles. Now, the media defends those scheming behind closed doors, and attacks me for leading others through those doors.


I haven’t changed — the media has.


The Daily News reprinted a Palm Beach Post editorial, calling my efforts "unnecessary," "unproductive," and "a distraction." They even called for my censure.


If editorial boards are concerned with "distractions," I would direct them to the failed multi-million-dollar Mueller investigation. It was hyped by the media and House Democrats as the undeniable basis for impeachment…until it was all but forgotten a few weeks ago.


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As to the charge that my transparency efforts have been unnecessary and unproductive: three weeks ago, Speaker Pelosi demeaned calls for written impeachment procedures as a mere "Republican talking point." Two weeks ago, I led over fifty members of Congress into the secret Schiff star chamber to observe the proceedings.


Last week, Speaker Pelosi held a public vote and established procedures. Democrats lost two of their members on the vote; we lost no Republicans.


It was admittedly unorthodox to lead dozens of members of Congress into an unnecessarily secret impeachment inquiry. But it was not unproductive.


The American people saw vivid images of the unfairness toward President Trump. The normally paralyzed Senate even lurched into action, gaining 50 votes to condemn the Pelosi/Schiff Kangaroo Court.


In my campaign, I promised to "Fight Washington," not to play by its corrupt rules. I meant it. I will not sit powerless while the Deep State, the Fake News media, or the Democratic Socialists in Congress try to undermine and overturn the 2016 election.


Democrats were humiliated after their "Russian conspiracy" narrative was disproven. Hunting for a distraction, they threatened to impeach Justice Kavanaugh, then Attorney General Barr. They’ve now settled on a new approach: the knockoff Ukraine sequel to the Russia Hoax.


After the Mueller report backfired spectacularly, Democrats learned from their mistakes. This time, they’ll do far less in public view. They’ll limit factual development in the House Judiciary Committee, where I serve alongside some of President Trump’s most capable defenders. They’ll stack the procedural deck. The only thing transparent about this new approach is its appalling cynicism and hypocrisy.


The question isn’t why I motivated my colleagues to do more than sheepishly accept an attack on the American electorate. The question is: why didn’t the media join us?