Thursday, December 16, 2004

A Republican for Transparency?

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) claims that he'll introduce legislation mandating strict deadlines for governmental compliance with FOIA requests.

[A]gencies are supposed to provide information on a timely basis. That rarely happens. In fact, the median response time from the Agriculture Department is 905 business days; it's 1,113 from the Environmental Protection Agency. In some of the most extreme examples, requests made in the 1980s still haven't been processed.

Cornyn wants to put teeth in the FOIA by creating strict deadlines for agencies to cough up information. He also wants to extend the act to cover the legislative branch, which conveniently exempted itself from its provisions.

"We the people are the bosses and not the servants," he said. "If we the people are going to remain well-informed so we can tell our elected officials what we want and what we won't put up with, we have to be able to be informed."

Sounds good to me! Cornyn has one of the worst voting records in the Senate, so I'm a bit skeptical of his motives (not least because such a bill is obviously not very likely to make it through this Congress). But if he's actually serious, good for him.

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