Remarks by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
On Sunshine Week
Monday, March 15,
democracy was built for the people, by the people and is accountable to the
best way to be accountable is through transparency.
come to the floor today to celebrate an important week, known as Sunshine
this week we celebrate the birth of the fourth President of the United States,
is the father of the Constitution and the father of open government.
believed that access to information and meaningful oversight and accountability
are foundational to our government.
week, I’m continuing his legacy by introducing several pieces of legislation.
also asking the Government Accountability Office to look into how the Freedom
of Information Act, or FOIA, has been impacted by the pandemic.
on the judicial side, I’m again advocating for “cameras in the courts.”
the last year, nearly every major institution – from schools to Congress – have
adapted to the pandemic by going virtual.
cameras into our federal courts would also bring in the public and open up
access to our third branch of government.
the same time, I’m also asking the courts to provide transparency into our
civil justice system by requiring the disclosure of all parties in a case.
funders, such as hedge funds, are providing money to plaintiffs to bring
is done in secret.
many reasons, everyone involved in the case, including the judge and the
defendant, should know these parties exist.
the executive side, one of the most important tools the public has to hold
its government accountable is the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA.
its passage, people had to justify their need for information to the
its passage, the government has to justify its refusal to release
2016, we took FOIA one step further by requiring the government to proactively
obligations are mandatory, even during unforeseen circumstances.
deeply concerned they’re not being met.
before the pandemic, the GAO reported a significant increase in the number of
FOIA requests and a backlog in addressing those requests.
May, DOJ reported that coronavirus impacted FOIA processing government-wide, as
many agencies had limited ability to retrieve or process FOIA requests.
is why I’m joining Senators Durbin, Leahy and Cornyn in asking the GAO to
examine FOIA processes and procedures in light of the coronavirus
hope is to continue refining FOIA to make government information accessible in
good times and in bad.
an Iowa farmer, I know that without sunshine there cannot be growth, and both
corn and democracy thrive in the light.