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Lawmakers request more details on agency gag order reports

In the wake of reports that the Trump administration has imposed a gag order on an unspecified number of federal agencies, a bipartisan pair of congressman sent a letter to each cabinet agency requesting more information on how they are implementing any new nondisclosure directives.

In the wake of reports that the Trump administration has imposed a gag order on an unspecified number of federal agencies, a bipartisan pair of congressman sent a letter to each cabinet agency requesting more information on how they are implementing any new nondisclosure directives.

The order, reportedly implemented a week after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, bars agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture from communicating with the public and press. It is unknown how many other agencies may be affected.

Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Mark Meadows (R-NC) have asked that each agency provide more information by Feb. 20, 2017 on any new nondisclosure policies that have been implemented since January 1 and whether such an order would impact their ability to communicate agency actions to Congress. Both Connolly and Meadows sit on the House Oversight and Government Reform committee.

“Recently there have been news reports that guidance in some agencies raised concerns regarding the implications for federal employees’ personal communications including, in some instances, communications with Congress,” they wrote in the letter. 

The congressmen also want to know how agencies are interpreting this new order in light of an anti-gag law that requires any nondisclosure agreement to contain language explicitly exempting federal workers who convey information that qualifies under whistleblower protection statutes or those with obligations to report relevant information to Congress.

“We want to ensure that this [anti-gag] law is fully implemented,” the letter states.

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