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Organizations Support Free Online Access to CRS Reports
More than 30 organizations concerned with government openness and accountability, including ALA, ARL, and SLA, sent a letter to the U.S. Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, urging him to appoint a Director of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) who will work with Congress to provide online free public access to the unclassified, non-confidential, taxpayer-funded reports produced by CRS.
The letter states:
The public needs access to these non-confidential CRS reports in order to discharge their civic duties. American taxpayers spend over $100 million a year to fund the CRS, which generates detailed reports relevant to current political events for lawmakers. But while the reports are non-classified, and play a critical role in our legislative process, they have never been made available in a consistent and official way to members of the public.
Predictably, to fill the public void left by the CRS, several private companies now sell copies of these reports at a price. This means that non-confidential CRS reports are readily available to lobbyists, executives and others who can afford to pay. Meanwhile, the vast majority of people lack the information necessary to even request reports from their Members of Congress.
Here is a list of the organizations that signed:
American Association of Law Libraries
American Library Association
American Society of News Editors
Association of Research Libraries
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Center for Democracy and Technology
Center for Media and Democracy
Center for Responsive Politics
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
Defending Dissent Foundation
Federation of American Scientists
Free Government Information
Government Accountability Project (GAP)
Knowledge Ecology International
National Coalition Against Censorship
National Freedom of Information Coalition
National Security Counselors
No More Guantanamos
Point of Order
Project On Government Oversight (POGO)
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
RS&S INTERNATIONAL, LLC
Society of Academic Law Library Directors
Society of Professional Journalists
Special Libraries Association
University of Missouri Freedom of Information Center
Washington Coalition for Open Government
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