New rules at the Congressional Research Service could further restrict CRS reports from public view.
CRS Director Daniel Mulhollan wrote a memo this week requiring that CRS employees get approval from divisional managers before releasing reports to “non-congressional audiences,” which include executive branch officials, state and local government workers and reporters.
“Statute as well as policy guidance from oversight committees have made it clear that CRS is restricted from making any broad publication of its products,” Mulhollan wrote CRS staff on Tuesday.
The secrecy afforded CRS reports has been a bone of contention for some government watchdogs. The Center for Democracy and Technology launched a website called opencrs.com to serve as a database of CRS reports it has acquired in spite of their limited distribution.
The CRS reports often detail upcoming policy fights for members of Congress. The Center for Democracy and Technology argues these reports should be made publicly available given that CRS is itself a publicly funded entity with an annual budget of $100 million.