“Paging the Pot and the Kettle” – CRS Issues Report on Secrecy and Transparency in Congressional Lawmaking


From the Free Government Information Blog (by way of beSpacific) comes word that the Congressional Research Service issued a report on November 30, 2011, titled “Congressional Lawmaking: A Perspective on Secrecy and Transparency.”  The 19-page report briefly outlines the history of the tension between secrecy and transparency in Congress, reviews the issues that emerged on this front during the formation of the 2011 Joint Select Deficit Reduction Committee, looks at various parts of lawmaking that are typically imbued with closed door activities, and closes with some summary observations.

All well and good, but . . .  is it just me, or does anyone else find it the topic slightly ironic given that the CRS itself seems reluctant to release unclassified and non-confidential (public domain) copies of their reports in any systematic way, and no comprehensive list of these reports is even publicly available?  As the first sentence of the Report notes, “Openness is fundamental to representative government.”  That openness should include access these valuable public policy documents paid for with our tax dollars.

CRS Resources

CRS Reports “Uber” Archive from Archive-It

opencrs – Access and upload CRS reports here.

University of North Texas Digital Library – CRS Reports Collection

National Council for Science and the Environment – Access to CRS Reports related to the environment and other related topics.

U.S. Department of State – CRS Reports and issues briefs.

Thurgood Marshall Law Library (University of Maryland College of Law)  – CRS Reports on homeland security/terrorism and health law & policy.

Federation of American Scientists – CRS Reports on national security, foreign policy and related topics.