POGO also wants to thank Steve Katz for his assistance on this report. Congress, researching and reporting on topics of interest to Congress."For a democracy to be dynamic and self-correcting, its governing institutions must be not only continuously accountable to the people but also solidly based on a body of knowledge that is both constantly expanding and available equally to those who legislate and to those who elect the legislators." (Emphasis in the original) 2- Excerpt from Library of Congress Mission Statement The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a department within the Library of Congress. It then issues the information in both print and web form as CRS products.
In order to prevent public access to the websites, CRS has erected an elaborate firewall to keep the public out.
In fact, when the public tries to access the LIS, they are automatically forwarded to THOMAS without warning.
In fact, CRS has a special page detailing the enhanced capabilities of the restricted LIS website over the public THOMAS website.
Neither of these websites are available to the public, even though knowing what is happening when it is happening would be enormously empowering to citizens, activists, journalists, and academics following legislation.
POGO champions issues dealing with open government and believes a well-informed citizenry encourages the successful functioning of democracy.
Special thanks go to Gary Ruskin, who has been one of the key driving forces behind broad public access to Congressional Research Service products.Taxpayers pay for both CRS systems in addition to THOMAS, yet are only allowed access to THOMAS.The following is CRS's comparison of the two websites 6: Finding the most complete legislative information for congressional staff or for a Member; obtaining information, using databases, and linking to pages that are not available to the public on THOMAS.CRS, like other Congressional entities, is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), nor does it answer direct public inquiries.To receive a copy of a report, a citizen must request it from his or her Member of Congress, personally conduct an exhaustive search through various websites that may or may not have it, or buy it from a private company.Both the GAO and CBO have done so without compromising their responsibilities to Congress, relinquishing their constitutional protections, or violating any legal prohibitions.The Project on Government Oversight supports efforts to make CRS reports available over the internet and more accessible to the public.This report does not seek to promote changes to CRS research methods or products, but only to their availability.CRS's products include briefs, reports, short issue papers and longer position papers.Non-Neutral Taxation and the Efficiency Gains of the 1986 Tax Reform Act - - A New Look w2964 Published: Gravelle, Jane G."Differential Taxation Of Capital Income: Another Look At The 1986 Tax Reform Act," National Tax Journal 42, 4 (1989): 441-463.