Anonymous Senator Blocks FOIA Bill

Updated below

An unidentified Republican Senator placed a secret hold on the Open Government Act, a bipartisan bill to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act, thereby preventing the Senate from acting on the bill this week.

“Regrettably, an anonymous Republican hold is stalling this important Freedom of Information Act legislation, needlessly delaying long-overdue reforms to strengthen FOIA and to protect the public’s right to know,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), a co-sponsor of the bill along with Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

“It is both unfortunate and ironic that this bipartisan bill, which promotes sunshine and openness in our government, is being hindered by a secret and anonymous hold. This is a good government bill that Democrats and Republicans alike, can and should work together to enact,” Sen. Leahy said in a May 24 floor statement.

“I hope that the Senator placing the secret hold on this bill will come forward, so that we can resolve any legitimate concerns, and the full Senate can promptly act on this legislation,” he said.

Update: Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) has acknowledged that it was he who placed the hold on the bill. See this account from the Society for Professional Journalists, and this from Tapscott’s Copy Desk.

11 Responses to “Anonymous Senator Blocks FOIA Bill”

  1. Nina May 28, 2007 at 11:11 AM #

    It’s like an old scooby doo episode! I am waiting for a republican senator to have a mask ripped off his face to reveal an old man who then says “And I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you pesky kids!”

  2. Jeffrey Friesen May 28, 2007 at 11:36 AM #

    Frickin’ God Damned Nazi’s.

    While the Dems are no prize pigs, the Repub’s are acting in the best interests of fascism everywhere. The only reason for this is that this senator, or those he works for [not the people] have something to hide.

    Frickin’ God Damned Nazi’s.

  3. Jeffrey Friesen May 28, 2007 at 11:36 AM #

    Frickin’ God Damned Nazi’s.

    While the Dems are no prize pigs, the Repub’s are acting in the best interests of fascism everywhere. The only reason for this is that this senator, or those he works for [not the people] have something to hide.

    Frickin’ God Damned Nazi’s.

  4. Jeffrey Friesen May 28, 2007 at 11:36 AM #

    Frickin’ God Damned Nazi’s.

    While the Dems are no prize pigs, the Repub’s are acting in the best interests of fascism everywhere. The only reason for this is that this senator, or those he works for [not the people] have something to hide.

    Frickin’ God Damned Nazi’s.

  5. Jeffrey Friesen May 28, 2007 at 11:36 AM #

    Frickin’ God Damned Nazi’s.

    While the Dems are no prize pigs, the Repub’s are acting in the best interests of fascism everywhere. The only reason for this is that this senator, or those he works for [not the people] have something to hide.

    Frickin’ God Damned Nazi’s.

  6. L Kern May 28, 2007 at 11:56 AM #

    I don’t get it. A bill designed to promote openness is closed by a “secret” republican? One has to laugh.
    I want a name please Mr. Leahy.

  7. George May 28, 2007 at 11:57 AM #

    Process of elimination: can someone (TPM, dKos, AmericaBlog, Atrios?) start a phone-tree among readers, calling all Republican Senators’ offices and asking if that Senator is the one?

  8. E Pleb Neesta May 28, 2007 at 2:18 PM #

    I hope one provision of this bill is to remove the ability for cowardly congress-critters to use such sekrit holds. Giving a single “person” the right to stall legislation with no debate? Is someone pushing the concept of the “unitary legislator?”

    We can survive attacks by AQ.
    We can’t survive attacks on our values and Constitution.
    …We may still be called Americans, but we won’t be Americans.

    E Pleb Neesta
    GODISNOWHERE
    He converteth me to lamb cutlets
    Blessed are the cheese makers.

    If HPV vacciniation, contraception and sex-ed promote promiscuity, then surely confession must promote sin.

  9. realworld May 28, 2007 at 2:31 PM #

    Can anyone explain how a secret hold is placed on a bill? What rules are in effect here and when can they be changed?

    [There is some related background in this statement from Sen. Wyden in 2003. --SA]

  10. michael May 28, 2007 at 3:16 PM #

    Does anyone know what the proposed changes to FOIA include? It would be helpful to know in order to figure out what the GOP is so afraid of.

    [The proposed changes are detailed in a Senate Judiciary Committee report on the bill. The report also includes a statement of opposition from Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and a lengthy critique from the Department of Justice (see "Additional Views"). --SA]

  11. Rick May 29, 2007 at 3:16 PM #

    The Society of Professional Journalists is coordinating an effort to unmask the holder by asking each senator whether they are the source.

    See:
    http://www.spj.org/ogahold.asp