Under Leahy-Led Appropriations Legislation, Taxpayer-Funded Congressional Research Service Reports Are Publicly Available TODAY, For The First Time

WASHINGTON (TUESDAY, Sept. 18, 2018) – Widely hailed as a key victory for transparency and open access to information, Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports will be made freely available to the public for the first time beginning Tuesday.  The change in policy was directed by appropriations provisions authored by Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).  The Leahy legislation was signed into law in March.  

A legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS issues or updates more than 3000 reports each year on topics ranging from the structure of government agencies, to summaries of legislative proposals and other policy analyses.  Previous restrictions prevented these taxpayer-funded reports from being directly distributed to the public, but third-party for-profit companies often made them available to lobbyists for hefty subscription fees. 

Now the public has the same access that members of Congress and their staffs have long had, by directing that all non-confidential CRS reports be published online, for free, so that all Americans will have access to them equally. 

Leahy said:  “I have long championed transparency and an open government, and I am glad that the American people will finally have the same access to these taxpayer-funded reports that lobbyists and insiders enjoy.  The Library of Congress and its CRS division are superb national resources.  Open access to information is vital to a functioning democracy, and this rollout is long overdue.” 

Leahy noted the announcement was bittersweet, as the late Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) had championed this issue as well, teaming up with Leahy for the better part of two decades.  Most recently, Leahy and McCain introduced a bicameral and bipartisan bill in 2016 that would have opened access to the reports.

The public now can access the reports HERE: https://crsreports.congress.gov/

More information is available HERE: https://blogs.loc.gov/loc/2018/09/trending-congressional-research-service-reports-now-available-online/

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CONTACT: Jay Tilton – 202-224-2667