House Communications Subcommittee member Greg Walden (R-Ore.), a former broadcaster and one of the industry's strongest champions on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, is taking a leave of absence to push for House reforms as leader of the GOP Congressional Transparency Initiative.
He will be replaced on the committee and subcommittee by Rep. Parker Griffith (R-Ala.). Walden will become the GOP Leadership Chairman, according to a spokesman, leading an effort to, among other things, mandate that bills are posted online at least 72 hours before they are voted on so that the press and public can see what is in them. He will also push for cameras in the rules committee so the press and public can follow the process of getting a bill to the floor, as well as making sure votes are posted online promptly and that no phantom amendments get added to bills.
According to Walden's spokesman, he will retain his seniority and return to the committee likely no later than next year. "It says a great deal about the quality on our side the House Energy and Commerce Committee that we can lose a star like Greg Walden to an important role in the House Republican leadership and yet have people of such extraordinary ability and experience ready to step up," said Energy & Commerce ranking member Joe Barton (R-Tex.) in a statement.