U.S. House: Let the Sun Shine In

Sunshine Week LogoOn March 14, the U.S. House of Representatives "passed three bills to open government records to the public, brushing aside White House opposition, and in one case, a veto threat." The bills "would force government to be more responsive to Freedom of Information Act requests, make contributions to presidential libraries public and overturn a 2001 presidential directive giving the president authority to keep his records from public view," reports Associated Press. President Bush opposes the FOIA bill and has threatened to veto the presidential records bill, as well as another bill extending whistleblower protections. The House FOIA bill would reinstitute a "presumption of disclosure" standard, overturning a post-9/11 directive from then-Attorney General John Ashcroft to not release information if there is "uncertainty over security or law enforcement exemptions." The measures are being considered during Sunshine Week, a media-led observance of "open government and freedom of information" issues.