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this panel and elsewhere. I am not going to go into detail on why I think it is so effective. I would point out, however, that I think it is especially encouraging that you have decided to make real con- sequences for failing to administer the Act in an appropriate way and the establishment of an ombudsman to act as a neutral arbi- ter, if you will, in disputes between requestors and agencies. Those are the two most important accomplishments that could be ob- tained by this bill.
It is also my hope that those members of Congress who consider themselves to be of a conservative persuasion will pay particular attention to this Act, to this bill, because it can be an effective re- source for restoring our government to its appropriate size and functions. Sunshine is the best disinfectant, not only in the phys- ical world, but also in combatting things like waste and fraud in government, and I hope that my fellow conservatives in Congress will pay very close attention to that fact.
We are, indeed, fighting a global war on terrorism. It is a war that puts unusual demands on the FOI system. But conservatives and liberals alike should always remember that an ever-expansive, ever-intrusive government is ultimately antithetical to the preser- vation and expansion of individual liberty and democratic account- ability in public affairs.
Having said that, Senator, I commend you and Senator Leahy and I hope that this ends in a great success.
Senator CORNYN. Thank you very much for that opening state- ment.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Tapscott appears as a submis- sion for the record.]
Senator CORNYN. Ms. Graves, we would be glad to hear from you.
STATEMENT OF LISA GRAVES, SENIOR COUNSEL FOR LEGIS- LATIVE STRATEGY, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION, WASHINGTON, D.C.
Ms. GRAVES. Good morning, Chairman Cornyn. Thank you for the invitation to testify today before the Subcommittee on Ter- rorism, Technology, and Homeland Security on behalf of the Amer- ican Civil Liberties Union. We are very pleased to testify in sup- port of your bill, the OPEN Government Act, S. 394, which was in- troduced last month by both you and Senator Leahy, who have been leaders in open government policies in Texas and nationally. This bill makes agency compliance with the Freedom of Informa- tion Act a priority and not an afterthought, and for that, we com- mend you. It supports accountable, democratic government by fi- nally giving teeth to the deadlines set by Congress.
Second, it will help bring FOIA into the 21st century by applying FOIA’s rules to government contractors in this era of outsourcing and also by leveling the playing field for independent reporters and publishers in the Internet age.
Third, it protects incentives for the enforcement of FOIA when a litigant is a catalyst for change and for the disclosure of informa- tion that the public is entitled to.
And finally, fourth, it emphasizes that the core purpose of FOIA is disclosure and not secrecy.
09:04 Nov 08, 2005