A Wall Street Journal column on March 26 reported that the Congressional Research Service “will no longer respond to requests from members of Congress on the size, number of background of [budget] earmarks.” The new CRS policy, the Journal article alleged, “is helping its masters hide wasteful spending.”
“The article is replete with mischaracterizations of CRS work and policies,” wrote CRS Director Daniel P. Mulhollan in a memo to all CRS staff (pdf). “Such attacks on our independence cannot go unanswered.”
Mr. Mulhollan defended his agency in a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal, circulated with his March 26 memo. A copy was obtained by Secrecy News.
The Journal article “gratuitously alludes to issues related to public access to CRS work,” Mr. Mulhollan wrote in his letter. “The restriction on publication of CRS work was established long ago by Congress. CRS internal policies regarding distribution of its products ensure compliance with congressional directives. We leave to Members and committees the discretion to share CRS products how and when they wish.”
“CRS has recently been subjected to much scrutiny because we have not shied away from analysis of controversial issues,” Director Mulhollan told CRS staff.