Bringing CRS to the Public


Roll Call’s Jonathan Easley has a well-crafted article recounting ongoing efforts to make CRS reports publicly available, especially as the Library of Congress looks for a new head for the research service. Here’s how it starts:

Government transparency advocates are pressing for the next head of the Congressional Research Service to make its reports public.

As the government-run policy research agency searches for a new director, a coalition of 38 groups has sent a letter to the Library of Congress urging it to pick someone who will make CRS reports available to the public for free.

Advocates have long sought to free the reports, written by the agency for Members of Congress. Many are available already from third-party sources, some of which charge for access.

CQ Roll Call, which publishes Roll Call, is among the companies that sells CRS reports.

“The public needs access to these non-confidential CRS reports in order to discharge their civic duties,” the groups wrote. “American taxpayers spend over $100 million a year to fund CRS … 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.”

For the rest of the story, go here ($).