Making Data More Accessible

There is No Reason Why CRS Reports Should Not be Public

The Congressional Research Service does some excellent research and analysis on all manner of things. These reports are not officially accessible to taxpayers.

CRS reports to Congress or individual members of Congress should be readily accessible via the World Wide Web within two weeks of their delivery to the requesting member(s).


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Similar Ideas [ 5 ]


  1. Comment

    I want them public! i also want them citable!

    that way if I disagree or want to add more information in a blog post I can! And it makes my commentary easily findable if I provide the link back!

  2. Comment
    christoff eddleman

    why are they not open to the public do you have to be a elected senator to see these document?

  3. Comment

    I agree. Making CRS Reports available to the public is a huge step towards transparency. Providing the public the ability to review the same documents that our congressional representatives review and rely on in making legislative proposals is a definite must.

  4. Comment

    I fully agree with this proposal, but it is not the place of the Executive branch to tell the Legislative branch how to run their business.

    It is however our right under the 1st Amendment to "...right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    So, we should demand our House and Senate members to open up the research paid for by the people.

  5. Comment

    I'm inclined to oppose this idea because it places the CRS between elected representatives and their constituents. The CRS isn't in the business of providing services to the public. Their sole function is to provide research aid to members of Congress, leadership and any of the Congressional committees.

    If members of Congress wish to release the end product to their constituents they can do so but the moment we start to politicize the CRS and remove them as an impartial provider of research to members of Congress they would be forced to go directly to the public and write to the public.

    If we start making all of these reports public than the individuals who author these reports will become more familiar names than members of Congress who represent us. That's dangerous to our system of government.

    It may make us feel important and to think that we are somehow on the inside loop because we can read these reports but if we want to see these reports we should run for Congress or contact our member of Congress to request the reports.

  6. Comment

    I think Edward brings up a good point, however, we should work within those concerns and still make the data publicly available. Perhaps making the authors anonymous would help?

    Additionally, we should get to see what our representatives are using to make decisions that will impact us, their constituents.

  7. Comment

    As a corollary to another post requesting that the federal government to intervene to make local governments more open....Indiana state legislature generates a number of reports (such as financial impact reports) for each and every piece of legislation, and these reports are all public (to the best of my knowledge, anyways) and on their websites. If the federal government required that all states have the same level of openness as the federal congress, this would be a _step backwards_ for Indiana. It is more productive to use this forum to encourage the federal government to be as open as each individual state.

  8. Comment

    As to:

    Executive branch commanding the legislative branch...

    That is the argument used to disregard the popular demand for ending the war on drugs.

    It is diversionary. Health care is also in the hands of the legislature, the administration has no problem involving itself there.

    So was the bailout. Administration made demand after demand on legislature.

    When it is a policy the administration wants, it is called leadership.

    When it is a policy the administration does not want to touch it is called legislative territory.

    We do not have to accept and be bound by the parameters of that game.

  9. Comment
    Debra Bryant

    Google CAFR1 then you will see where the money is

  10. Comment

    The level of government secrecy should be limited to new technology, military operations, and probably the names of Operatives doing undercover investigations.

    Beyond that, I have to be given meaningful and powerful reasons for so much information to be kept from citizens.

    Those who support this idea, would also support the "Funding New Ideas Pilots" which I proposed, as a means to funding the implementation of good ideas.