SHAWNEE, Kan.– As news reports of Sen. Pat Roberts’ shoddy attendance record at Senate hearings keeps piling up, Senator Roberts’ response to these important questions has been to stonewall, evade and even lie. According to published reports, Sen. Roberts has missed nearly 70 percent of the Senate Finance Committee hearings, 65 percent of the Senate Agriculture Committee hearings and 90 percent of the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee hearings.
“Kansans know Washington is broken, and they know Senator Roberts is part of the problem. Senator Roberts lives in Washington, rarely visits Kansas, and barely ever shows up for the job taxpayers are paying him to do in Washington,” said Orman for Senate campaign manager Jim Jonas. “Kansans want someone who will actually show up for work and get things done, and that’s why they’re supporting businessman Greg Orman’s independent campaign for Senate.”
The following are a collection of responses to questions about Roberts’ No-Show status for his committee work.
Senator Roberts Lying
When, in their final debate, Orman challenged Roberts on his missing a key September Senate hearing on the Ebola virus, Roberts said: “The hearing was held out of session in September.”
“No, it wasn’t,” reported KMBC News. “The Senate was in session on Sept. 16 and Roberts even cast two roll call votes on the Senate floor that day.”
On radio station KQAM’s show “Answering the Call,” Roberts claimed that despite missing 65 percent of the Senate Agriculture Committee hearings and 70 percent of the Finance Committee hearings, he was present on both panels when it mattered for Kansans' farm interests or when important topics like tax reform were considered.
“If it involves Kansas and it involves agriculture and a tough decision or an important decision, I’m at the Ag Committee,” Roberts told host the Rev. Terry Fox. “If it involves tax reform, I’m at the Finance Committee."
Senate records show that Roberts has actually missed 20 of 22 hearings on tax reform and hasn’t been to a single tax reform hearing since 2008.
Since 2001, government reports say Roberts has missed hundreds of Senate Agriculture committee meetings, including hearings on important topics like:
Senator Roberts Evading
When KMBC News asked Sen. Roberts about missing 90 percent of the meetings of the Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee, a campaign spokesman deflected the question and said Roberts made 97 percent of the Senate floor votes and “that’s what’s really important."
He repeated this defense on KQAM’s “Answering the Call.”
But Robert’s didn’t always have this cavalier attitude toward committee work, and in 2004, when Sen. John Kerry’s attendance at Intelligence Committee Hearings became an issue in the Presidential race, a finger-wagging Roberts said: “Attendance is very, very important. Attendance is where you gain the experience and the expertise to do the job.”
In a separate 2004 interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Roberts echoed that sentiment, saying of attendance, “It is important because you have to be in attendance to learn the job.”
Senator Roberts Stonewalling
When the Hutchinson News asked for comment on its story published Friday that said Roberts had missed nearly 70 percent of the Finance Committee hearings, the paper only got silence in return.
“The Roberts campaign did not respond to an inquiry Thursday by The News,” they wrote.
KCTV’s Lisa D'Souza also couldn’t get an answer out of Roberts for her live report on the campaign Friday morning. “Senator Roberts is under fire from the opposition for low attendance at key committee hearings. We reached out to his campaign for a response. They’ve not returned our request for comment.”
For more information about businessman Greg Orman and his Independent campaign for U.S. Senate, please visit the campaign online at www.OrmanForSenate.com. For media inquires, please contact our press office at Press@OrmanForSenate.com or call us at 913-353-5277.
Sign up to help bring Common Sense to Washington.