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Open CRS Resolution Support Letter

Open CRS Resolution Support Letter

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Published by Sunlight Foundation
Letter supporting the Public Access to Congressional Research Service Reports Resolution Act of 2013 introduced by Representatives Lance and Quigley.
Letter supporting the Public Access to Congressional Research Service Reports Resolution Act of 2013 introduced by Representatives Lance and Quigley.

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Published by: Sunlight Foundation on Mar 07, 2013
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02/20/2014

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March 1, 2013The Honorable Leonard Lance The Honorable Mike Quigley133 Cannon House Office Building 1124 Longworth House Office BuildingWashington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515Dear Representatives Lance and Quigley:We the undersigned organizations are writing to express our support for the Congressional ResearchService Electronic Accessibility Act and to thank you for your advocacy in favor of public access to theseimportant documents. This important bipartisan legislation would ensure that the public has easy accessto the unclassified, non-confidential, taxpayer-funded reports produced by the Congressional ResearchService.The public needs access to these non-confidential CRS reports in order to understand the importantpolicy matters before Congress. American taxpayers spend more than $100 million a year to fund theCRS, which generates detailed reports on topical issues. These unclassified reports play a critical role inour legislative process, are regularly requested by members of the public, and are frequently cited bythe courts and the media. Despite this, they have never been made available in a comprehensive way tomembers of the public.To fill the void left by the lack of public access to CRS reports, several private companies now sell copiesof these reports. 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 are left in the dark.Providing public access to non-confidential reports is already common practice for other Congressionalsupport agencies like the Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Budget Office. And,in other countries, public access is routine: 85% of G-20 countries whose parliaments have subjectmatter experts make CRS-like reports available to the public.This bipartisan resolution opens the doors to greater public understanding of Congress and should beapplauded. Thank you for introducing the legislation and continuing to work toward greater publicaccess to this important information.Sincerely,American Association of Law LibrariesAmerican Association of University Professors (AAUP)American Library AssociationAssociation of Research LibrariesCenter for Democracy and Technology

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