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Access to government information in the United States

Author: Harold C Relyea; Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service.
Publisher: Washington, D.C. : Congressional Research Services, Library of Congress, 2005.
Series: CRS report for Congress, 97-71 GOV.
Edition/Format:   eBook : National government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
The Constitution of the United States makes no specific allowance for any one of the co-equal branches to have access to information held by the others and contains no provision expressly establishing a procedure for, or a right of, public access to government information. Nonetheless, Congress has legislated various public access laws. These include two records access statutes -- the Freedom of Informaiton Act (5  Read more...
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Material Type: Government publication, National government publication, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Harold C Relyea; Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service.
OCLC Number: 57558785
Notes: "Updated January 7, 2005."
Title from title screen (viewed Feb. 3, 2005).
Title from title screen (viewed 11/09/2004).
Description: 4 pages.
Details: Mode of access: World Wide Web.; System requirements: Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Series Title: CRS report for Congress, 97-71 GOV.
Responsibility: Harold C. Relyea.

Abstract:

The Constitution of the United States makes no specific allowance for any one of the co-equal branches to have access to information held by the others and contains no provision expressly establishing a procedure for, or a right of, public access to government information. Nonetheless, Congress has legislated various public access laws. These include two records access statutes -- the Freedom of Informaiton Act (5 U.S.C. 552) and the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a) -- and two meetings access statutes -- the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) and the Government in the Sunshine Act (5 U.S.C. 552b). Moreover, due to the American separation of powers model of government, interbranch conflicts over the accessibility of information are neither unexpected nor necessarily destructive. The federal courts, historically, have been reluctant to review and resolve "political questions" involving information disputes between Congress and the executive branch. Although there is considerable interbranch cooperation, such conflicts will probably continue to occur on occasion.

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