By Bryan Rahija
The gist: The Congressional Research Service (CRS) needs a director who will work with Congress to bring free, online public access to the reports it generates.
Recipient(s): James Billington, the Librarian of Congress.
Signees: POGO and nearly 40 other groups.
Key passage: "Predictably, to fill the public void left by the CRS, several private companies now sell copies of these reports at a price. This means that non-confidential CRS reports are readily available to lobbyists, executives and others who can afford to pay. Meanwhile, the vast majority of people lack the information necessary to even request reports from their Members of Congress."
Key stat: American taxpayers spend over $100 million a year to fund the CRS.
Key quotation: "A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." (James Madison)
Background info: The Congressional Research Service provides nonpartisan research and analysis to Congress. CRS's current director, Daniel P. Mulhollan, announced earlier this year that he planned to retire in April.
Bryan Rahija edits POGO's blog.
Image: Wikimedia Commons.