Mark Kelly Breaks Transparency Promise, Hasn't Updated Official Work Schedule in Eight Weeks

Sen. Mark Kelly (D., Ariz.) / Getty Images
February 28, 2023

Sen. Mark Kelly (D., Ariz.) is way behind schedule on transparency.

The Arizona Democrat pledged during his highly competitive campaign last year to publish his official work calendar on a weekly basis "to bring greater accountability and transparency to Washington." He stopped updating it on Jan. 8, just days after he was re-sworn into office, a Washington Free Beacon review found.

Kelly made a big show of his campaign trail pledge, which he said would "root out corruption and increase transparency in Washington." In December 2020, Kelly's office issued a press release to commemorate the publication of his work schedule on his website, stating that, "Moving forward, the official schedule will continue to be posted to his Senate website at the end of each week."

"This is an important step for Arizonans to have accountability and to see how I am working for them in the United States Senate," Kelly said.

The updates on Kelly's website, which still features a "See My Schedule" tab at the top, abruptly stopped in early January. Kelly had earlier updated the schedule with details of his committee meetings, press interviews, and private meetings with constituents, foreign officials, advocacy groups, and business leaders. Kelly, who last year disclosed phone calls with the top executive of the controversial private equity firm BlackRock, has said taxpayers "deserve" insight into his schedule. The schedule is meant to show he is "working to tackle the issues that matter most to them, not corporate special interests."

Kelly's office did not respond to a request for comment.

It's not the first time Kelly has violated self-imposed transparency measures. As a U.S. senator, Kelly introduced legislation to require members of Congress to place their stock holdings in a blind trust to prevent favoritism and insider trading. But Kelly holds $250,000 in nonpublic shares of aerospace company Boom Technology, which received millions in Pentagon contracts while Kelly served on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which oversees the Pentagon's budget, the Free Beacon reported.

Kelly has pledged not to accept campaign contributions from corporate PACs, saying that those donations are "one of the biggest problems in our politics today." But Kelly got around that self-imposed ban by taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from other PACs funded by corporations.

The Arizona Democrat's tardiness in releasing his work schedule contrasts with the actions of Sen. Jon Tester (D., Mont.), with whom Kelly cosponsored a bill requiring members of Congress to post records of the events and meetings conducted in their official capacities. Tester, who is in a tight contest this cycle, last updated his schedule on Feb. 23.