Forced Congressional Transparency - monday 2009-02-09 0021 last modified 2009-02-09 0021
Categories: Nerdy, Current Events
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A few weeks into a new administration and somebody short circuits the need for sunlight legislation to open up the operations of the government to its people. Thanks to Wikileaks for hosting the nearly 7000 previously unseen CRS documents that have been legally in the public domain but effectively hidden from us. The CRS is Congress' research branch, the generally non-partisan internal feed of information that's informed choices for many (all) members over the years. That we the people don't have full access to that information stream, one highly regarded and sought after by all in the political business, one which may very well govern the workings of the people's branch of government, was troubling to some congressmen but ultimately blocked by most as well as by the CRS itself. It may have legitimately desired to maintain non-partisanship in research, but at the least some third party would have to analyze precisely how accurately "non-partisan" describes them in the first place. And if keeping CRS reports quiet was so important to Congress and successfully accomplished over decades, then keeping public CRS reports non-partisan shouldn't be an insurmountable obstacle.

I'm downloading the approximately 2GB archive of those reports now. It's unlikely I'll read many at all, but I'll gladly help keep the torrent spreading. If we ever find out the full story, I'm going to guess one of these new administration characters and someone somehow affiliated with things in the vicinity of the Sunlight Foundation had their fingers in it. Yet while I download and redistribute away, I have to note that circumventing institutional process isn't necessarily the most appropriate way to achieve even these ends. It would be interesting for the Sunlight Foundation to run another uncovering campaign as it did for unmasking anonymous Senate holds.

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