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.