National Press Club

Trump administration official to join press freedom panel tonight

March 13, 2018 | By Rachel Oswald |

The Trump administration is sending an official to participate in the Press Freedom Committee's panel discussion tonight on the role of public information officers in limiting and shaping press access to government information.

Henry Kerner, special counsel in the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, will round-out an all star-panel of reporters, editors, and government transparency advocates that will gather in the Zenger room from 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are necessary. To register to attend, sign-up here.

Kerner was confirmed to his position by the Senate last fall after previously working on Capitol Hill as a Republican professional staff member on the House Oversight Committee and the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He also worked with Cause of Action, a nonpartisan advocacy group that supports fewer government regulations.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Office of Special Counsel is an independent investigative agency with the primary mission of protecting federal employees from retaliation for whistleblowing.

Successive presidential administrations have increasingly relied on PIOs to act as intermediaries, brokers, and even firewalls between the press and the agency officials who research, develop, and implement major federal policies. Under President Barack Obama, many beat reporters struggled to get access to timely government information and to secure substantive on-the-record interviews with key policymakers. But what was a difficult job then has by almost all accounts only worsened.