Dear Senators McCain and Leahy:
We heartily endorse your resolution to place useful congressional documents on the Internet, including Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports and Issue Briefs, CRS Authorization and Appropriation products, and Senate gift disclosure reports. This resolution is a simple and inexpensive way to improve our democracy.
Citizens need access to congressional documents to discharge their civic duties. Regrettably, the 20th Century has come and gone, and yet Congress still has not put many of its most important documents on the Internet. Your resolution will help fix this problem.
The Congressional Research Service is a taxpayer-funded research arm of Congress. Their research materials are among the best produced the federal government. They explain, with fairness and clarity, the controversies and complexities surrounding the most pressing issues of our day. This research belongs on the Internet. Taxpayers deserve easy access to the documents we pay for.
We applaud the resolution's directive that Senate committees should provide access via the Internet to publicly-available committee information, documents and proceedings, including bills, reports, and official transcripts of committee meetings that are open to the public.
In 1822, James Madison explained why citizens need such information: "A popular Government, he wrote, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."
Congressional Accountability Project Consumer Federation of America U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG)
Gary Ruskin : firstname.lastname@example.org
Commercial Alert : http://www.commercialalert.org/
Congressional Accountability Project : http://www.congressproject.org/
phone: 503.235.8012 | fax: 503.235.5073