Hmm…Wonder What Happened To Spark This Email

Obtained by FishbowlDC (emph. added):

    From: RadioTV Executive Committee
    Sent: Friday, November 16, 2007 2:18 PM
    Subject: Access to the Senate Chamber

    To: Credentialed Members
    From: The Executive Committee of the Congressional Radio-TV Galleries
    Re: Access to the Senate Chamber
    Date: Friday, November 16, 2007

    The Executive Committee would like to inform members about the protocol for access into the Senate chamber. This memo follows an incident in which the actions of a credentialed member of the media were inappropriately called into question. A subcommittee of your Executive Committee investigated the incident and met with Mr. Rick Edwards, Sergeant At Arms Administrative Assistant. Following a fruitful discussion, we were able to reach a mutual understanding about the role of the doorkeepers and the media, and how both can do their jobs without unnecessary clashes or confusion.

    Per our conversation, we are outlining the following guidelines: Please be advised that credentialed members have a right to enter the Senate chamber through two access points. The first is through the Senate staff gallery door labeled “Ladies Gallery.” The second is through the Senate Print Gallery door. To enter through the “Ladies Gallery” you will likely have to engage a Senate doorkeeper. To enter through the Print Gallery you may have to engage a gallery staff member. In either case, you are well within your rights to enter and there should be no cause for confrontation. Once inside the Senate Chamber, our members are required to sit in the reserved space in the Radio-TV Gallery.

    As per Mr. Edwards, members do NOT have to go through the metal detectors to enter the chamber through either the “Ladies Gallery” or the Print Gallery as long as credentials are displayed. At the same time, though, correspondents must NOT, under any circumstances, bring any electronic equipment including cell phones, cameras and Blackberrys into the chamber. It has been impressed upon us that it is very important that we police ourselves on this matter. If we fail to do so, we may jeopardize ease of access.

    It is also important for us to exercise our right to sit in our designated area in the Senate chamber. If we do this, the doorkeepers will get used to seeing us there, and confusion about our presence will be diminished. Please note that from time to time, new doorkeepers are placed on the chamber doors and may not be familiar with the procedure. We are encouraged to maintain our presence so that they do become familiar with the procedure and with members who may wish to access the Senate chamber.

    Please keep in mind, while it is customary not to enter the Senate chamber during the pledge or the prayer, in rare instances, a news event may develop. If that happens, correspondents are encouraged to carry out their function and cover that news event. In this, and all incidents, if you encounter difficulty while entering the chamber, please contact the director of the Senate Radio-TV Gallery, Mike Mastrian, or any member of the Senate Radio-TV Gallery Staff. If you have additional concerns about this or any other access issues, kindly contact your Executive Committee to work on your behalf.

    Most sincerely,

    The Executive Committee

Tipsters? What happened?