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A Brief History of Access to Information by the Congressional Research Service

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  1. Freedom of Information
There’s no provision for information sharing in the Constitution. And for many years, the executive branch used “artful interpretation” of…

There’s no provision for information sharing in the Constitution. And for many years, the executive branch used “artful interpretation” of a 1789 housekeeping statute to limit public and interagency access to records. Historian Harold Relyea, in a Congressional Research Service review, notes that the reform Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 indicated that matters of official record should be available to the public, but then said accesscould be denied for “for good cause found” or “in the public interest.” His report offers a quick review of access laws.

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