For reasons that are hard to comprehend, Congress for many years has directed the Congressional Research Service not to make its products directly available to the public.
CRS reports naturally vary in quality, originality and breadth of focus. But as a class of documents, they are both interesting and useful. Along with impartial treatments of complex policy issues, they often provide unexpected, telling detail. (“At present, about 30 million Americans, nearly 10% of the population, are subject to debt collection for amounts averaging $1,500 per person,” a newly updated report on the subject notes in passing, citing the CFPB.) Even in cases where individual reports are deficient, they are nonetheless significant to the extent that they help to inform congressional deliberation. It is therefore proper and necessary that they should be available to the public.
Some of the latest CRS reports that have been withheld from public access are posted below.
Western Sahara, April 14, 2013
Cybersecurity: Selected Legal Issues, April 17, 2013
Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources, April 17, 2013
Ricin: Technical Background and Potential Role in Terrorism, April 17, 2013 (see related commentary from George Smith here)
The Independent Payment Advisory Board, April 17, 2013
The World Bank Group Energy Sector Strategy, April 16, 2013
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), April 11, 2013
Codes of Conduct for Multinational Corporations: An Overview, April 16, 2013
Teenage Pregnancy Prevention: Statistics and Programs, April 15, 2013
“Gang of Four” Congressional Intelligence Notifications, April 16, 2013