Nevada County’s representative to the U.S. Congress is coming under fire after reportedly banning the media from a Tea Party-hosted event in Redding.
Multiple media outlets, including KRCK TV, the Redding ABC news affiliate, and the Redding Record Searchlight reported they were banned from covering certain portions of U.S. Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s meeting with the Redding Tea Party March 26.
Both outlets were not allowed to attend the question-and-answer period.
The Record Searchlight reported some of LaMalfa’s responses via Twitter in the first 25 minutes of the nearly two-hour session but was asked by a Tea Party member to stop or risk not being invited back to future meetings, the Searchlight reported. A Tea Party member later sat next to the reporter for the remainder of the session.
The incident has drawn criticism by LaMalfa’s announced opponents for the next election cycle.
Heidi Hall, a Grass Valley Democrat who announced she would run against LaMalfa in 2014, chastised LaMalfa for his lack of public accountability.
“Citizens like us have a right to know what our representatives are telling people about what they believe,” Hall said in a news release. “Apparently, however, Doug LaMalfa thinks that congressmen can only be honest behind closed doors.”
Gregory Cheadle, a Republican from Redding, who has also announced he will run against LaMalfa, joined Hall in criticizing the public official.
“I think, quite frankly, we elect these people to be public officials, and they should be public,” Cheadle said. “If it’s at someone’s house, that is one thing, but if it’s in a public place, the official should be up front.”
Kevin Eastman, who is LaMalfa’s legislative director, said the congressman had no comment on the issue as he is not actively campaigning.
“Generally speaking, regarding that event, the entire event is on the Tea Party’s website,” Eastman said. “Congressman LaMalfa is happy to be on the record.”
A cursory search of the Redding Tea Party’s website and YouTube did not yield any results for the video.
Asked after his meeting whether he had any issues with the media quoting him on his responses, LaMalfa, who was autographing a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, said he liked to adhere to a group’s rules and declined further comment, the Record Searchlight reported.
“I trust the people of the First District, and I would never stand for someone trying to hide my views from them like Rep. LaMalfa did,” Hall said. “His willingness to stand aside as the freedom of the press was trampled shames us all.”
Attempts to contact Redding Tea Party representatives were unsuccessful.
To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-477-4239.