Can a Fictional Character Testify at a Congressional Hearing?

Plenty of celebrities have testified before Congress, but in 2002, Elmo, the fuzzy red guy with the squeaky voice from Sesame Street, figuratively raised his right hand and agreed to tell the truth, the whole truth, before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education. Elmo became the first non-human to give congressional testimony, urging support for increased funds for music education.

"Elmo knows that there is music in Elmo's friends all over the country, but some of them just don't know it yet," the official transcripts show the Muppet as saying, referring to Elmo as "Mr. Monster." "So that's why Elmo needs Congress to help."

Elmo, Sesame Street and his celebrity status:

  • Elmo, never without his favorite blue blanket, entered the world of Sesame Street in 1981. He represented the innocence of childhood.
  • The 2002 congressional testimony was the idea of former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-CA), who three years later admitted to accepting millions in bribes and under-reporting his income.
  • Elmo is no stranger to making guest appearances on various TV shows, including The Rosie O'Donnell Show, Emeril Live, Oprah, and even The West Wing.
More Info: Washington Post

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