Today President Obama signed into law a bill that sped through the House and Senate to quickly fix an overbroad exemption from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. The Sunshine in Government Initiative appreciates the quick action and hard work of transparency leaders in Congress to correct this mistake.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) deserves praise for holding a congressional hearing on September 16th, which included SGI testimony, to air concerns about the FOIA exemption written into the financial reform law and recognizing that the provision included in the massive financial reform law was too broad and Congress needed to fix it. Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) also actively worked with the Financial Services Committee to minimize harm to public disclosure. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Ca.) recognized the dangers early Here’s the statement from SGI, which can be attributed to SGI Coordinator Rick Blum:
It’s commendable that Chairman Frank was open to listening to the concerns about the provision and agreeing that Congress needed to fix it quickly. Hopefully this controversy will make us look more closely at legislation for unnecessarily large loopholes to disclosure and Congress will do more to vet these proposals before they are written into law.
We also appreciate Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), Senator John Cornyn (R-Tex.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for their quick action to fix this.