Secrecy News

Anonymous Senator Blocks FOIA Bill

Updated below

An unidentified Republican Senator placed a secret hold on the Open Government Act, a bipartisan bill to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act, thereby preventing the Senate from acting on the bill this week.

“Regrettably, an anonymous Republican hold is stalling this important Freedom of Information Act legislation, needlessly delaying long-overdue reforms to strengthen FOIA and to protect the public’s right to know,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), a co-sponsor of the bill along with Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

“It is both unfortunate and ironic that this bipartisan bill, which promotes sunshine and openness in our government, is being hindered by a secret and anonymous hold. This is a good government bill that Democrats and Republicans alike, can and should work together to enact,” Sen. Leahy said in a May 24 floor statement.

“I hope that the Senator placing the secret hold on this bill will come forward, so that we can resolve any legitimate concerns, and the full Senate can promptly act on this legislation,” he said.

Update: Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) has acknowledged that it was he who placed the hold on the bill. See this account from the Society for Professional Journalists, and this from Tapscott’s Copy Desk.