The public phone numbers for both the majority and minority offices of the House Oversight Committee now give callers a separate option to complain about the Trump administration, an option that did not exist for the Obama administration.
“[T]his is not typical,” said Jennifer Werner, the communications director for the committee’s Democrats, in an email to TPM, when asked whether the Oversight Dems had operated a separate option for executive branch inquiries under previous Presidents.
“It reflects the massive number of calls we have been getting since the election urging the committee to conduct basic oversight of the Trump Administration,” she said.
The office for the committee majority also confirmed to TPM that the separate option in their automated message had been added about a month ago.
The automated message for the public number for the committee’s Republicans tells callers in to “Press 1” if they “would like to provide information or make an inquiry relating to President Donald Trump,” while instructing callers to press two for other matters or to speak to a staffer.
Likewise, the Democrat-operated virtual receptionist instructs callers to “Press 1” if they would “like to leave a message about oversight of the Trump administration” and gives a separate option for other matters or for speaking to the staff.
The House Oversight Committee, under Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), spearheaded numerous investigations into the Obama administration. Prior to the November election, Chaffetz said he had “ two years’ worth of material already lined up” relating to the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. He has been more deferential to President Trump, telling the Huffington Post that it had only been a “few days” since the Inauguration, and that, “All the flailing before he was even sworn in was a bit silly, if not purely immature.”
Chaffetz and the committee’s ranking member, Elijah Cummings (D-MD) did send a letter to the Office of Government Ethics Thursday knocking Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway for plugging Ivanka Trump’s clothing line in a TV segment filmed in the White House briefing room.