VerDate 0ct 09 2002
en the Freedom of Information Act, and I was pleased that he gave me that commitment during his confirmation hearing.
So I look forward to working with General Gonzales, with Sen- ator Leahy, and our other colleagues in the Senate and the House to moving this legislation through the process.
[The prepared statement of Senator Cornyn appears as a submis- sion for the record.]
And with that, I would like to turn the floor over to Senator Leahy for any opening statement he may have.
STATEMENT OF HON. PATRICK J. LEAHY, A U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF VERMONT
Senator LEAHY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am delighted to be working with you on this subject. Also, I was just over with Sen- ator Specter at the Judicial Conference at the Supreme Court and there, I was very pleased it was chaired this year, as it always is, by the Chief Justice, who was there. I told him I was in Vermont until late last night and I told him the number of Vermonters who came up to me and to wish him well. He is a part-time resident of our State, the most famous resident we have in our State. I com- mented that, too, what I thought was a great act of personal cour- age when he swore in the President for his second inauguration, and I think the signal it sent to the country and the rest of the world of our three branches of government, the continuity of gov- ernment, was very good.
I was glad to see the weather is very nice since it says ‘‘Sunshine Week’’ on these things. This past week, in addition to the NCAA ski championship held in Vermont and a number of NCAA basket- ball conference tournaments around the country, most Americans saw in their Parade magazine and their Sunday newspaper that sunshine is a great disinfectant to the abuses of power. The weekly magazine reminded us of a story it ran in January 2004 about a Massachusetts couple, and they relied on State FOIA laws to ex- pose a town’s plan to reopen a dormant and potentially polluted landfill. It spotlights the power that individuals have to show what their government is doing.
That is why I am delighted to join with the Senator from Texas. He and I talked about this on the floor at some length. The fact the two of us have joined, I hope it sends a very strong signal, this is not a partisan issue, because no matter who the administration is, Republican or Democratic, we will always get the press releases when everything is going well. You have to fight tooth and nail to find out when things are not going well, and that is why we want to do something on FOIA.
There has not been significant legislation regarding FOIA since 1996, when I was able to author the Electronic Freedom of Infor- mation Act Amendments, joined by, again in a bipartisan way, to an update for the Internet age.
I fought against the rolling back of citizens’ rights in this regard. I expressed concern in 2002 over an agreement in the Homeland Security legislation that was contrary to those efforts, and this is why I think it is so important Senator Cornyn and I are working together on this to demonstrate that it is not a partisan issue. It is a good government issue. I am going to keep on working on not
09:04 Nov 08, 2005