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Tag Archive: OPEN Government Act

Sen. Jon Kyl: Afraid of Open Government

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Sometimes senators admit that they are holding a particular piece of legislation. In this case, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) admitted that he is the one blocking passage of the OPEN Government Act, a FOIA improving bill cosponsored by Sens. Pat Leahy (D-VT) and John Cornyn (R-TX). Kyl states that the bill would require the Justice Department to release sensitive data related to law enforcement and that the "uncharacteristically strong" opposition to the bill from Justice is reason enough to block the bill. According to the AP, the Justice Department is concerned about "a section that would eliminate exemptions allowing the government to deny access to privileged or law-enforcement sensitive information." Sen. Leahy assailed the hold that Kyl is using to block the bill, "This is a good government bill that Democrats and Republicans alike can and should work together to enact. It should be passed without further delay." The same goes for the Senate Campaign Disparity Act (S. 223). If Kyl can fess up to holding an open government bill then Mitch McConnell can cough up the names of the anonymous senators blocking S. 223 from passing.

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Sigh. Another Secret Hold.

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What is it with bills that create more open and transparent government and secret holds? Last week, a Republican senator placed a secret hold on the OPEN Government Act, a bill that would expand and fill the holes in FOIA. OPEN is cosponsored by Senators Pat Leahy (D-VT) and John Cornyn (R-TX), who have pushed for greater FOIA rights for some time now. As soon as they get the ability to pass the bill someone in Cornyn's party blocks it. We know that the secret hold comes from a Republican because it came through the leadership. This is yet another instance of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) hiding the identity of a secret holder. Josh at the Seminal has put together a list of senators to call and ask if they placed the secret hold. If you have a moment you should stop by and give your senator a call. Openthegovernment.org, Public Citizen, and the Federation of American Scientists have also put out a call to arms to unmask the secret holder. Do your part and make the call. If they can't end the practice of secret holds anytime soon than we may as well make the secrecy obsolete by unmasking the secret senator every single time.

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