Capitol Hill Chat: Public Access to CRS Reports

Yesterday, the Congressional Transparency Caucus announced it will host a panel discussion on public access to Congressional Research Service reports. The non-confidential reports explain current policy matters before Congress in a thoughtful, comprehensive way, but the reports are not systematically publicly available. The panel is set for Thursday, October 22, at 11 a.m. in room 2103 of the Rayburn House Office Building. It will be live-streamed here.

RSVP for the panel discussion here }

Reps. Lance (R-NJ) and Quigley (D-IL), who are hosting the conversation, have introduced legislation to publish all non-confidential reports online. As part of a coalition of 40 organizations, we have endorsed online access to the reports, as have many others, including the New York Times in a recent editorial.

Click here to ask your rep. to support public access }

In addition to opening remarks by Reps. Lance and Quigley, former Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT), who started pushing for public access in the late 1990s, will participate on the panel, as will former counsel for the House of Representatives Stan Brand.

Watch the live stream here }

Here is a full list of the panelists:

  • The Honorable Chris Shays (R-CT) — Rep. Shays represented the fourth congressional district in Connecticut from 1987–2008. A member of the Government Reform, Financial Services, and Budget and Homeland Security Committees, Rep. Shays is well-known for his government reform efforts. In 2009, he co-chaired the Commission on War-Time Contracting.
  • Prue Adler — Ms. Adler is the associate executive director of the Association of Research Libraries, with a focus on information politics, intellectual property rights, telecommunications, and issues relating to access to government information. Prior to joining ARL in 1989, she was assistant project director for the Communications and Information Technologies Program in the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment.
  • Stan Brand — Mr. Brand is senior counsel with the law firm Akin Gump. His practice emphasizes defending the rights of witnesses involved in government investigations. From 1976–1983, Mr. Brand was general counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives and was the House’s chief legal officer responsible for representing the House, its members, officers, and employees in connection with legal procedures and litigation arising from the conduct of their official activities. He is a Distinguished Fellow in Law and Government at Penn State Dickinson School of Law
  • Kevin Kosar — Dr. Kosar is a senior fellow and governance project director with the R Street Institute, a free-market think tank with a pragmatic approach to public policy challenges. For 11 years, he was an analyst and manager at the Congressional Research Service. In January, he wrote an article in the Washington Monthly entitled “Why I Quit the Congressional Research Service.”
  • Daniel Schuman, moderator — Mr. Schuman is the policy director at Demand Progress and co-founder of the Congressional Data Coalition. He has written extensively on congressional capacity to perform its duties. In addition to serving as director of the Advisory Committee on Transparency while at the Sunlight Foundation, he was a legislative attorney with the Congressional Research Service.