Open CRS Network
While at first blush this sounds like a fantastic idea, she worries about a possible chilling effect on honest discourse:
Nifty as it would be to have all of these reports easily accessible, I have not yet decided whether or not I think this would be a good idea. Currently, CRS reports only enter the public domain once a senator or representative releases them, and even then, they’re difficult to find (perhaps analogous to courthouse records in the back filing cabinet behind the “beware of the leopard” sign).
I’m inclined not to believe that making CRS reports generally available to the public would not cause a burden upon the CRS itself: as it stands, these are internal memos designed to be frank and honest and nonpartisan. They are not intended to be used as ammunition. They are not peer-reviewed. They are simply designed to be useful to members of Congress. If they must also be safe for public consumption, will they be able to fill that role?
Interesting questions. One presumes that, initially at least, it would still require a Member’s approval to release a report. Once the expectation grows that the reports will be available, though, the pressure to release all of them may be difficult to resist.