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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Friday, May 25, 2007



The NFOIC, SPJ, and your nation, needs your help.

On April 12, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed the Open Government Act, sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

The bill, which has garnered support from more than 100 organizations, would improve the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by reducing delays in releasing government records requested under FOIA by creating incentives for public officials to comply with the law.

The House passed a similar measure earlier this year but the bill was blocked from reaching the Senate floor for a vote May 24 when an unknown Senator placed a secret hold on the bill.

A secret hold. On an FOI bill. Think about that a minute.

This is not the first time a secret hold has been used to block open government legislation from reaching the floor. In Aug. 2006, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) put a hold on a bill to create a searchable public database of all federal grants and contracts. Steven's role was revealed only after online public advocates and journalists forced senators to go on the record about whether they placed the hold or not.

And that’s what we want to do right now: get them on the record and find out who Senator Secrecy is...


Check www.spj.org and look for the link with FIND THE SECRET SENATOR — and see if your senator has been called already.

If not, or if they are not on the record yet, call them right away.

Ask them, quite simply, and POLITELY:

“Did Sen. XXX place a hold on the Open Government Act?”

Send us your answer — e-mail to daviscn@missouri.edu and we’ll get the response online immediately.

It’s fun.

It’s for a good cause.

It’s a fine way to exercise those First Amendment rights on a Memorial Day break.

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