February 15, 2001
Senate Sunshine Law Introduced
Will Make Government Info Available on the Internet
Nicole Harkin and Beth Daley, 202-347-1122,
both of Project on Government Oversight;
Gary Ruskin of Congressional Accountability Project,
WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 -- New legislation sponsored by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) seeks to make Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports, Senate gifts disclosure reports, as well as lobbying reports publicly available on the Internet.
"Getting information about government operations is already too difficult for concerned citizens and journalists. The McCain-Leahy resolution is a simple and inexpensive way for the Senate to fulfill its duty of protecting our democracy from political corruption," said Danielle Brian, Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO).
The resolution, S. Res 21, would post the following information on the Web:
CRS has a budget of $73.4 million to produce reports of interest and importance to U.S. citizens. Currently, the reports are only available to Members of Congress and their staff at no cost. Through an organization on the Internet, the public can pay $49 for up to five reports.
- Disclosure reports filed by lobbyists working to influence the Congress, including gifts given to Senators and staff as well as who the lobbyists are employed by;
- Congressional Research Service reports and issue briefs, as well as authorization and appropriations products.
The resolution is endorsed by a bipartisan coalition of public interest organizations as well as members of the media and communications industry such as the American Association of Law Libraries, American Conservative Union, American Library Association, American Federation of Government Employees, American Society of Newspaper Editors, AOL Time-Warner, Center for Democracy and Technology, Common Cause, Congressional Accountability Project, Consumer Federation of America, Federation of American Scientists, Government Accountability Project, Intel Co., National Federation of Press Women, National Newspaper Association, National Security Archive, National Taxpayers Union, Public Citizen, RealNetworks Inc., and Society of Professional Journalists.
For more information check the Web at http://www.congressproject.org or http://www.pogo.org.
About POGO: Founded in 1981, POGO's mission is to investigate, expose, and remedy abuses of power, mismanagement, and subservience by the federal government to powerful special interests. To learn more, see POGO's Web page at http://www.pogo.org.