Dozens of public interest groups wrote to the Librarian of Congress last week to urge him to appoint a new Director of the Congressional Research Service who would work with Congress to promote public access to CRS reports.
“The public needs access to these non-confidential CRS reports in order to discharge their civic duties,” the letter (pdf) stated. “American taxpayers spend over $100 million a year to fund the CRS, which generates detailed reports relevant to current political events for lawmakers. But while the reports are non-classified, and play a critical role in our legislative process, they have never been made available in a consistent and official way to members of the public.”
There are several largecollections of CRS reports that have been placed online by public interest groups, including the Federation of American Scientists. But Congress has prohibited CRS from providing its products directly to the public. And the current CRS director, Daniel Mulhollan, who is retiring in the next few weeks, has actively supported that non-disclosure policy.
NOTE: On FullTextReports.com (INFOdocket’s sister site) we list a selection of new CRS reports as they become available on the web.