The health-care clusterfudge continues. Senator John McCain has brain cancer. President Trump throws another public tantrum. Russia, Russia, Russia.
That about covers the Big Political Headlines of the week. Now for something really sexy: the creeping assault on the Freedom of Information Act.
Stop right there! No clicking over to that Tucker Carlson YouTube rant. This is another one of those ticky-tacky, below-the-radar issues that may sound like a nonprescription substitute for Ambien but is, practically speaking, super important—especially in the Age of Trump.
FOIA is what enables regular people to pester powerful federal agencies into handing over information about what they’ve been up to. FOIA’s website calls it “the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government.” Though a tad grandiose, that characterization is pretty much accurate. And never has such a tool been quite so vital as with the current White House, which has adopted a policy of unabashedly lying about pretty much everything.
It’s hardly surprising then that government accountability groups balked when, in early April, House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling directed multiple agencies under his committee’s jurisdiction to start classifying all communications with the committee as official “congressional records” not subject to FOIA.
Probably best to back up a tick: FOIA applies only to executive agency records. Congressional records are a different creature entirely (as are presidential records), enjoying greater privacy protections. But not every document that has been created by or sent to Congress qualifies as a congressional record.
“There has to be an expression of intent by Congress to treat a particular record or group of records as something that is a congressional record—that it belongs to Congress and is only being given to an agency for a specific purpose,” explained Lee Steven, assistant vice president with Cause of Action Institute, …read more
Source:: The Atlantic – Politics