The Washington Post

McCaskill to chair Ferguson-themed hearing on militarization of police

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) speaks to reporters after addressing a forum of residents and faith and community leaders who were discussing unrest in the town of Ferguson, Mo. on Aug. 14. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

In response to weeks of turmoil in Ferguson, Mo., one of Missouri's senators is planning to lead a hearing on concerns about the militarization of local police forces once Congress reconvenes next month.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who chairs a Senate subcommittee on federal financial and contracting oversight, plans to use her perch to examine federal programs that allow local police departments to purchase surplus property and equipment from the departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Justice. The hearing is expected to include testimony from federal officials responsible for the programs and local law enforcement officials who've used the programs to purchase equipment, according to an announcement from her office.

McCaskill was one of the lawmakers to call on Ferguson-area officials to "demilitarize" the police response to local outrage over the shooting death of 18-year old Michael Brown. In the wake of the incident, she also kept in close touch with the White House, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and other federal officials. Several other lawmakers, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), have raised concerns that the federal programs used by local law enforcement agencies not only give local police unnecessary access to military-style equipment, but also are a form of "earmarking," or federal spending that lawmakers can help direct to communities in their districts or home states. Earmarking has been banned by both chambers in recent years in response to concerns about excessive spending and abuse tied to the practice.

The hearing of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will be held Sept. 9 at 10:30 a.m., according to McCaskill's office.

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The New Hampshire primary is Tuesday. Get caught up on the race.
New Hampshire primary: What to expect
New Hampshire will hold a traditional primary just eight days after the Iowa caucuses. Polling in the Granite state has historically been volatile in the final weeks before the primary. After the Iowa caucuses, many New Hampshire voters cement their opinions.
The Post's Ed O'Keefe says ...
Something has clicked for Bush in New Hampshire in the past few days. What has transpired by no means guarantees him a top-tier finish in Tuesday’s Republican primary here, but the crowds turning out to see him are bigger, his delivery on the stump is crisper and some of his key rivals have stumbled. At the least, the developments have mostly silenced talk of a hasty exit and skittish donors.
The feminist appeal may not be working for Clinton
In New Hampshire, Sen. Bernie Sanders is beating Clinton among women by eight percentage points, according to a new CNN-WMUR survey. This represents a big shift from the results last week in the Iowa caucuses, where Clinton won women by 11 points.
New Hampshire polling averages
Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the next state to vote, but Marco Rubio has recently seen a jump in his support, according to polls.
New Hampshire polling averages
A victory in New Hampshire revitalized Hillary Clinton's demoralized campaign in 2008. But this time, she's trailing Bernie Sanders, from neighboring Vermont. She left the state Sunday to go to Flint, Mich., where a cost-saving decision led to poisonous levels of lead in the water of the poor, heavily black, rust-belt city. 
55% 40%
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
State of the race

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.