Rep. Elizabeth Esty is facing criticism this week for holding closed, off-the-record meetings with public officials, according to reports.
The Connecticut Democrat has hosted several local meetings with city officials and others in her district this week to discuss the Newtown school shooting, but has asked the press to consider all comments from the meetings off the record and not for publication, several local newspapers reported. Esty - the newly sworn-in congresswoman whose district includes Newtown - told the Torrington-based Register Citizen that she will hold open meetings at another point, but for now the meetings are closed and off the record "to get the most candid sharing."
Esty's office has not responded to request for comment from POLITICO.
UPDATE (4:35 p.m.):
Reporter Dan Brechlin of The Record-Journal writes in to say he met with Esty this morning and asked her about the closed meetings:
"Esty and her staff remained firm on their stance that this was the best way to go about their meetings with public officials, clergy members, parents, gun owners and sportsmen, etc. She basically told me that she did not want anybody to feel like they were in a public meeting or at a press conference and wanted them to feel comfortable as people continue to formulate opinions and ideas on gun violence prevention.
She will be back in Meriden tonight for the meeting and we will not be in attendance because the terms continue to be an "off the record" conversation. We are disappointed that they insisted on keeping it this way as so many hearings and meetings are taking place across the state and the country in a very public format. Obviously it's a national debate on a controversial matter and the public is very much involved into whatever decisions are made."