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House considers transparency provision that would release secret government legal opi

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Unread 08.01.20, 02:12 AM
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House considers transparency provision that would release secret government legal opi

07.31.20 05:56 AM

The House of Representatives will vote this week*on legislation that would improve the transparency and accountability*citizens can expect from their government.*HR*7617 includes a provision that pressures the Department of Justice to release redacted legal memos from the Office of Legal Counsel and provide Congress with an explanation if they do not release them. As Americans for Prosperity Senior Policy Analyst Billy Easley*II*laid out*last year*in an op-ed*coauthored by Demand Progress’ Sean Vitka, requiring the OLC to release*its legal determinations*would allow citizens to know*government legal determinations*regarding, among other things,*“what constitutes torture, how U.S. citizens can be engaged on foreign soil, and what rules guide presidential action around executive orders.” Without such provisions, it would be difficult to acquire this sort of information. The federal government has historically been evasive and secretive about release of OLC determinations to the public. In fact, the government has repeatedly redacted innocuous information and forced good government organizations to spend substantial time and money to uncover them. Much of this information is redacted under b(5) of FOIA. That’s the “inter-agency” exemption, which, among other things, allows the government to withhold “predecisional” or “deliberative” documents. Unfortunately, b(5) has become a cloak of secrecy when it comes to OLC, […]

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