For Immediate Release: For More Information Contact:

Monday, July 1, 1996 Gary Ruskin (202) 296-2787

James Love (202) 387-8030

Citizens Send Letter to Dreier, Gingrich, Requesting Access to

Congressional Documents via the Internet

More than 700 citizens sent a letter to Representatives David Dreier (R-CA) and House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) urging them to provide Internet access to a wide range of Congressional documents not currently available online via THOMAS or GPO ACCESS, including committee prints of bills, voting records, hearing transcripts and prepared statements, Congressional Research Service reports, text of proposed amendments, and other materials.

The letter expresses gratitude for THOMAS and the Speaker's repeated statements in support of online access to Congressional documents. In November 11, 1994 remarks to the Washington Research Group Symposium, Newt Gingrich promised that "we will change the rules of the House to require that all documents and all conference reports and all committee reports be filed electronically as well as in writing and that they cannot be filed until they are available to any citizen who wants to pull them up. Thus, information will be available to any citizen in the country at the same moment it is available to the highest paid Washington lobbyist."

The letter reads, "And yet, as you know, many crucial House documents are still not available online. In spite of the Speaker's commitment, the Republican House and Senate leadership have followed in the same, old, discredited tradition of limited access to key legislative documents perfected under previous Democratic-controlled Congresses -- the same tradition that provides enormous political advantage to Washington lobbyists while leaving the American people without real-time access to the core documents of our democracy."

The letter was signed by 721 persons and organizations, including prominent activists, corporate executives, professors, journalists, and librarians. Signers include the Congressional Accountability Project, Consumer Project on Technology, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, Center for Responsive Politics, Voters Telecommunications Watch, and others.

Copies of the letter to Reps. Gingrich and Dreier are available from the Congressional Accountability Project at (202) 296-2787.