A secret hold on an FOIA bill

Pub date May 30, 2007
WriterTim Redmond
SectionPolitics Blog

By Tim Redmond

An important bill to reform the federal Freedom of Information Act has cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee, but can’t go to the floor for a vote because one senator has placed an anonymous hold on it.

The Society of Professional Journalists has a good running total of which senators said they didn’t place the hold and which are not responding; you can find it here

Word in Washington is that the guilty party — the senator who wants to secretly block more public access to government — is John Kyl of Arizona.But the only way to prove that is to rule the others out, and that’s been done before. From SPJ’s action notice:

In August 2006, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) put a hold on a bill to create a searchable public database of all federal grants and contracts. Stevens’ role was revealed only after online public advocates and journalists forced senators to go on the record about whether they placed the hold.

Both of California’s senators deny placing the block. If you live in one of the states where the senator hasn’t responded, call or email right away.