Quigley, Issa Host Bipartisan Briefing on Preservation of Government Data
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Transparency Caucus, along with Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-49), hosted the first bipartisan Transparency Caucus briefing in the 115th Congress to discuss web harvesting and the preservation of government data.
“In this increasingly digital age it is essential that we emphasize the importance of archiving electronic government data to help us make informed policy decisions rooted in facts and evidence. It remains deeply discouraging that the federal government does not have a formal process to ensure this vital information is preserved to help us develop solutions that improve the lives of our constituents,” said Rep. Quigley. “I thank Rep. Issa and today’s panelists for shining a light on this important topic, which is critical in increasing government accountability, especially at the start of a new Administration.”
“As technology advances and communication evolves, so too do the challenges in assuring our government stays transparent and our public records remain accurate,” said Rep. Issa. “Outside groups have made tremendous progress developing tools to help preserve government data – but our government itself hasn’t kept up. From Tweets and Presidential Records to electronic messaging and other new forms of communication, we must ensure these records are maintained appropriately. It’s crucial to the public’s ability to hold our government accountable. I look forward to continuing solutions that address these challenges and advance transparent governance.”
In 2008, the National Archives and Records Administration announced that it would no longer include the critical research, agency records, and web snapshots that only exist electronically in their end-of-administration archives. Luckily, in advance of the presidential administration transition in 2009, the “End of Term Archives” and other volunteer groups, libraries, and universities began archiving government information that was in jeopardy of being discarded. Changes in administration, including the transition currently taking place, highlight the need for the federal government to play a role in preserving all government data for future use.
Reps. Quigley and Issa gave opening remarks, followed by a panelist discussion. Panelists included: Alex Howard, Sunlight Foundation; Abbie Grotke, Library of Congress; and Bethany Wiggin, University of Pennslyvania.
The bipartisan Transparency Caucus serves as a resource for Members of Congress on bipartisan, open government initiatives. The caucus promotes legislation that requires federal information to be freely accessible, as well as advocates for new programs that support transparency.
Rep. Quigley has made government reform, transparency and fiscal responsibility the cornerstones of his legislative agenda throughout his time in Congress. In addition to serving as a co-founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Transparency Caucus, he has reached across the aisle to introduce bipartisan bills that would provide public access to taxpayer-funded reports written by the Congressional Research Service and federal agencies.