Tester introduces legislation to strengthen transparency, accountability in government

Senator’s bill would set up investigation of delays under Freedom of Information Act, strengthen disclosures

(U.S. SENATE) – As the nation observes “Sunshine Week” to promote openness in government, Senator Jon Tester today introduced his latest plan to strengthen transparency and accountability by improving response times for requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

Tester’s bipartisan Faster Freedom of Information Act would set up an investigation of delays and recent rejections of Freedom of Information Act requests.  The investigation would be conducted by an independent commission appointed by members of both parties, and would be followed by recommendations to improve disclosures and reduce delays.

“Open government and accountability are Montana values that I’m proud to bring to the U.S. Senate,” Tester said.  “Shining more sunlight on how the government operates will give Montanans and all Americans the tools to hold their leaders accountable.  That can’t happen when folks have to wait months or even years to get the information they need, which is why I’m fighting for real transparency.”

Tester’s legislation is supported by the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation.

“The Sunlight Foundation applauds Senator Tester for introducing the ‘Faster FOIA’ bill to address the delays that all-too-often compromise the effectiveness of the Freedom of the Information Act,” said John Wonderlich, policy director at the Sunlight Foundation.  “We hope the burden will soon shift from Americans having to request information to the government pro-actively disclosing all public information online, creating true transparency.”

Tester, an outspoken advocate for transparency and accountability in government, is the author of the Public Online Information Act, which would require virtually all public documents to be posted online in a free, searchable clearinghouse.

A record of bringing transparency and accountability to the Senate
  • Tester made history as first member of Congress to post daily public schedules on website
  • Only member of Congress to request regular, independent ethics reviews of office
  • Passed most sweeping ethics reforms since Watergate
  • Helped kill automatic Congressional pay raises, introduced legislation to end them permanently
  • Went beyond Senate rules to ban all gifts, meals, travel from lobbyists for himself and staff
  • Closed revolving door, barred any staff who become lobbyists from ever lobbying him, being rehired
  • Backed legislation barring former members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists
  • Posts full text of all major bills and amendments, sponsored and cosponsored, to website

Sunshine Week, being observed this week, is a nationwide initiative to promote open government and freedom of information.

A copy of Tester’s bipartisan Faster Freedom of Information Act is available on his website, HERE.