VerDate 0ct 09 2002
And Lisa Graves, who has recently served as my Chief Nomina- tions Counsel, but she has worked in all three branches of govern- ment. One of the first cases she worked on after graduating from law school was to help Terry Anderson in his battle to obtain infor- mation under FOIA about the decision of the U.S. Government re- lated to his captivity in Lebanon. They had a lengthy fight and he finally got documents, page after page after page, that were totally blacked out except for his name and the page number, a big help there. They finally—President Clinton in 1995 issued Executive Order 12958, which led to an unprecedented effort to declassify millions of those pages.
We are usually stronger when we know what is going on. So, Mr. Chairman, I can’t applaud you enough. I joke that when I say all these nice things about the Chairman that there is going to be a recall petition for him back in Texas—
[Laughter.] Senator LEAHY. —but what he is doing is very reflective of what we think about in Vermont with our open government and our town meetings. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Senator Leahy appears as a submis- sion for the record.]
Senator CORNYN. Thank you very much, Senator Leahy. Again, I can’t say enough nice things about you and your longstanding commitment to this issue. It makes so much sense to you and me. Surely, it has got to make sense to all of our colleagues. Hopefully, this legislation will pass out of here at a speed usually unknown in the U.S. Senate, which is not known for its speed, but we will keep pushing.
We are pleased to have a distinguished panel here before us today. Ordinarily, when we choose witnesses for panels, each side of the aisle picks its own witnesses, but that is not the case today. Again, in keeping with the spirit in which we are here, I am par- ticularly pleased that today’s witnesses were selected jointly by Senator Leahy and I, consistent with the bipartisan spirit on this issue.
I will introduce the panel and ask each of them to give brief opening statements and then we will ask questions.
The first witness is Katherine Cary—her friends call her Missy— starting here on my left. She is the Assistant Attorney General of Texas and Chief of the Open Records Division for the State of Texas, and I had the pleasure of working with her when I served as Texas’s Attorney General. My successor, General Abbott, had the good sense to keep her on in light of the great work that she is doing and I commend him and her for their continued good work.
Because the OPEN Government Act borrows from some core con- cepts that we already have in place in State law, I thought it would be helpful to have one of our top legal experts on this subject here with us today. But most of all, Missy, I thought it would be nice just to see you again, so welcome here.
We are honored to have Walter R. Mears here, and Senator Leahy has already spoken eloquently about him. But, he is a former Washington Bureau Chief and former Executive Editor for the Associated Press and the author of Deadlines Past: Forty Years of Presidential Campaigning, a Reporter’s Story. And, of course, as
09:04 Nov 08, 2005