[govinfo] sign-on opportunity

  • From: "Patrice McDermott" <pmcdermott@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <govinfo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <FOI-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <fen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2008 13:22:44 -0400

The attached letter is in support of S. 2746, which has a very straightforward 
intent: to ensure that, whenever Members of Congress try to slip exemptions to 
the FOIA into other legislation, they have to reference the relevant provision 
of the FOIA ( 5 USC 552(b)(3)).  This is to enable the Committees with 
jurisdiction over the FOIA ? and us -- to find them and challenge them before 
they slip through. The other language just reiterates provisions already in the 
These (b)(3) ? by other statute ? exemptions are often very expansive and 
amount to huge carve-outs of the public?s ability to gain access to information.
We are accepting sign-ons until 5pm (EDT) on 3 July.  Please contact Amy Fuller 
 if your organization would like to sign-on.
Patrice McDermott, Director 
202.332.OPEN (6736) 
July 7, 2008
The Honorable Patrick Leahy
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Arlen Specter
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Mr. Chairman and Senator Specter:
We write on behalf of the undersigned group of business, public interest, and 
historical organizations to endorse the OPEN FOIA Act (S. 2746), which would 
ensure transparency by requiring that every statutory carve-out to the Freedom 
of Information Act (FOIA) expressly reference section 552(b)(3) of that Act. 
These statutory exemptions limit public access to information under the FOIA 
and need to be openly discussed prior to enactment.
As you know, the intent of the FOIA, ensuring an open and accountable 
government, has been seriously undermined by members of Congress who attempt to 
limit public access to government information through inconspicuous provisions 
buried deep in proposed legislation.  Such provisions can establish new FOIA 
exemptions under section 552(b)(3), often without any public debate about 
whether the new exemption is necessary or appropriate. Passage of S. 2746 is 
vitally important because it will require that every proposed new carve-out to 
the FOIA specifically reference the Act.  
To preserve the ideals of openness that FOIA embodies, bills that exempt 
records from FOIA should be transparent about their intent and effect. By 
requiring that every proposed FOIA carve-out specifically reference 5 U.S.C. 
552(b)(3), the OPEN FOIA Act will give members of the public and open 
government advocates the tools they need to find, analyze and challenge these 
hidden exemptions before they are passed into law.  We therefore urge the 
Senate Judiciary Committee to report S. 2746 favorably and help it move quickly 
to the Senate floor for passage.
Thank you.
National Security Archive
Open Society Policy Center
Electronic Frontier Foundation
American Association of Law Libraries
Public Citizen
American Civil Liberties Union
U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation

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