Press denied access to Pennsylvania State Capitol


HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The media was denied access to the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building in Harrisburg on Tuesday.

Members of the press were told a press conference was being held at the building Tuesday afternoon but when they arrived, Capitol Police denied their entry.

The situation began when the Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus held a news conference at the Capitol Tuesday to discuss its economic recovery plan for the upcoming session. As usual, media was invited.

“I saw a member of the press, who I know personally and has a hard capitol press badge that is issued by the Department of General Services, get denied access to the building,” Jason Gottesman, Press Secretary to the House Majority Leader said.

Gottesman is the spokesperson for the caucus as well as press secretary to Kerry Benninghoff, who was the news conference. He expressed his concern as he witnessed members of the media being denied access outside the press room.

“I called the Department of General Services and I said, ‘hey there is press not being allowed in the building. You know is there some sort of something going on, do you want to clear it up? They said press is not allowed in the building,'” Gottesman said.

Eyewitness News reached out to the Department of General Services (DGS), we were provided with the following statement:

The House Republican Caucus did not inform the Department of General Services that they were holding a press event in the state Capitol today. That standard process is even more important to support media access during the pandemic when the building has been closed to visitors. 

When Capitol Police informed the DGS press office that some reporters were asking to enter the building, we quickly looked into the situation, learned of the event and reporters were granted access within approximately 10 minutes. The Wolf Administration believes strongly in a free press and has never denied reporters access or prevented reporters from doing their jobs. 

DGS will reach out to the caucuses to ensure that there is no confusion on the protocol that has been in place since the Capitol building was closed last spring ,to avoid similar delays in the future.

Department of General Services statement

“Whether this was a mistake, which I don’t see how it can be because the constitution is very clear, or if it was deliberate, this is something the Wolf administration needs to answer for and they need to make sure it never happens again,” Gottesman said.


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