Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CRS Reports To Be Leaked on Wikileaks

This is great news. Wikileaks is about to release a ton of CRS reports. I briefly mentioned this issue in my Berkman presentation on open access to government documents. The basic issue is that the Congressional Research Service, the taxpayer-funded think-tank for Congress, does not give citizens access to its reports. This is despite the fact that they cannot be copyrighted, and can have a real effect on legislative decisions. There has been a bill introduced in every session of Congress for quite some time now, which would release all of the reports to the public, but it has always stalled.

From the wl-press mailing list:

3. Wikileaks to release nearly 10,000 Congressional Research Service

Wikileaks has obtained nearly 10,000 US Congressional Research
Service (CRS) reports which it is preparing for publication. The
CRS spends around $100M a year preparing high quality reports for
members of Congress and Congressional committees. When members feel
publication of a report is in their political interest, they are
released. Alternatively reports that are not viewed as politically
favorable are kept from the public eye.

I originally noticed the news in this Open House Project post, which has more commentary. For more background on efforts to liberate CRS reports, check out this FGI post. Peter Suber has also commented on this development.

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