A package of open-government bills that would make major reforms to the Freedom of Information Act bear close watching in Congress this session.
The package addresses several issues with FOIA, an act that aims to ensure citizens have access to information about the federal government and the decisions it makes. The bills would improve federal agency responses to FOIA requests (HR 1309), seek disclosure of donations to presidential libraries (HR 1254), and reverse an executive order that gives ex-presidents and their heirs a say in how presidential papers of former administrations are handled (HR 1255).
"The FOIA reforms that Congress is considering are common-sense ideas that are long overdue," says Richard Karpel, executive director of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. "There is a direct connection between government secrecy and official incompetence and corruption, so in a very real sense these bills promote good, honest government."
And this being Sunshine Week, which marks the importance of open government and freedom of information, we want to let you know how Oregon's five House reps are planning to vote this week on these bills we'd like passed. Unfortunately, Reps. David Wu and Greg Walden didn't respond to multiple requests. (To keep tabs on the bills, go to opencongress.org.)