TPA Joins Coalition Effort Urging Easier Public Access to CRS Reports

Michi Iljazi

March 4, 2016

Transparency is an important issue for taxpayers, and a key tool in the fight for good governance. One issue that merges both transparency and good governance is the movement to make Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports more accessible to the public. CRS reports are funded through taxpayers, but the easy access goes to Congress and staff, not taxpayers. The reports are important resources of information on policy, and there is now bipartisan, bicameral legislation in the House and Senate to make them available to the public. This would increase transparency and that is why the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) signed onto this letter, urging lawmakers to make CRS reports more accessible to the public.

Read the letter below:

February 29, 2016

Dear Chairman Miller, Chairman Blunt, and Vice Chairman Harper,

As a coalition of 12 conservative, free market organizations we urge you to expand public access to Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports.

Each year CRS receives $100 million in taxpayer funding to produce and update thousands of nonpartisan reports describing government agencies, explaining public policy, and tallying government spending. They are an invaluable resource to Congress in its efforts to oversee our massive federal government and hold it accountable.

Members of Congress and their staff have easy access to CRS reports. So too do lobbyists and other Beltway insiders, who often pay for the reports through expensive subscription services. But taxpayers cannot easily get copies of CRS reports.

This policy is unfair and outdated. It also stands in stark contrast to other legislative branch agencies: both the Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accountability Office release their reports to the public.

Making CRS reports easily accessible by the public will increase transparency in government, and allow everyday citizens access to important information that will better educate them on the issues before Congress.

The bottom line is taxpayers pay for these reports. It is only fair that they have easy access to them.

Sincerely,

Phil Kerpen, President, American Commitment
Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform
Norm Singleton, President, Campaign for Liberty
Neil Bradley, Chief Strategy Officer, Conservative Reform Network
Tom Schatz, President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Adam Brandon, President and CEO, Freedom Works
Michael Needham, CEO, Heritage Action for America
Michael Ostrolenk, Co-Founder, Liberty Coalition
Brandon Arnold, Executive Director, National Taxpayers Union
Jerry Taylor, President, Niskanen Center
Kevin Kosar, Senior Fellow and Director of the Governance Project, R Street Institute
David Williams, President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance