Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) blocked his hometown newspaper, The Fresno Bee, from having access to an official government forum on water in California, they reported.
"U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, the nation’s top ranking administrator of federal waterways, was a speaker. His department manages the Central Valley Project, which delivers water from Shasta Dam to San Joaquin Valley farms," said the Bee. The form was not expected to be a private fundraiser or campaign event, it was an official one. Still, Nunes refused to allow the newspaper access to the meeting.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, (R-CA), was supposed to be a speaker, but by the time the Clovis Chamber of Commerce released a list of speakers he was removed.
By 10 a.m. the paper was informed no reporters were allowed to attend.
“I saw you registered for the event today,” Nunes’ staffer Crystal Ervin told the Bee in a voicemail, “but I want to make it clear that it’s invited press only, and you’re not on the list and your ticket will not scan at the door.”
However, FOX26 and ABC30 were allowed into the event.
"It is unusual for an elected representative to prevent a news organization from covering an event with a cabinet secretary," they explained.
“From a transparency standpoint, this is not good,” said Jordan Libowitz, of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics. “From a congressional standpoint, it’s confusing, because usually members of Congress really want reporters to cover this.”
“The only reason I can think of to exclude them is to punish or because he doesn’t want to answer questions,” he added.
In fact, Nunes is suing the Bee after they wrote a story about a winery that Nunes has an investment in. The winery was known for having events involving prostitutes and cocaine. So, Nunes sued the newspaper but did so in the state of Virginia. The judge in the case is now trying to decide if Nunes has the standing to sue in Virginia.
He's also suing Twitter accounts who he claimed insulted him online. One of the accounts, which is still active, is a cow who claims to be tweeting. The cow's lawyer said in court that Nunes doesn't have standing to sue because cows don't have the thumbs to tweet.