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Quigley Reintroduces Bill to Promote Accountability and Accessibility in Government

Nov 18, 2019
Press Release

Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), co-founder and chair of the Transparency Caucus, re-introduced the Transparency in Government Act (TGA) to increase access, accountability, and transparency in every branch of the federal government. This is the sixth time Quigley has introduced TGA, which would increase oversight of federal spending, expand financial disclosure requirements of both lawmakers and lobbyists, modernize how the public can access information, and improve judicial transparency.

“I am pleased to once again introduce the Transparency in Government Act, which lays out revolutionary policies that aim to shine a brighter light on the inner workings of the government,” said Quigley. “These measures promote government transparency by giving the public access to information that may impact their lives, including how the government spends taxpayer dollars and how the executive branch interprets and implements federal law. I am proud to lead this effort that will restore the public’s trust in our government.”

The Transparency in Government Act:

  • Increases disclosures of Members’ of Congress personal finances, office expenses, gift reports and foreign travel, and improves public access to information by publishing reports online. 
  • Increases public access to Supreme Court proceedings by requiring by law the proceedings of the court be audio and video recorded and made available on the Supreme Court’s website.
  • Strengthens the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by requiring agencies to put all completed FOIA requests online in a format that is searchable, sortable and downloadable. Also ensures that all agencies utilize the FOIA Online website to log, track and publish the status of requests.
  • Allows the public to know who is meeting with our nation’s highest leaders via improved access to White House and agency head visitor logs.
  • Improves oversight of lobbying efforts by establishing new definitions for lobbyists and stricter rules governing how and with whom they meet.

The re-introduced TGA includes new provisions that have been added to further promote government transparency and accountability. These additions include making the Select Committee on Modernization of Congress permanent, requiring the U.S. Capitol Police to publish their arrest information online, generating an unique identifier for lobbyists, studying the feasibility of a House staff directory that includes issue areas staffers’ cover, and creating an office outside the Department of Justice that would help prosecute criminal contempt referrals from Congress.

"The Transparency in Government Act is comprehensive legislation for just about everything needed to bring transparency to the federal government," said Daniel Schuman, Policy Director, Demand Progress. "The omnibus legislation sponsored by Rep. Quigley represents a tremendous effort to pull together great ideas on government transparency from all possible sources and put them into a form where they can easily be put into law."

“The TGA is a bold bill with important provisions that would strengthen government transparency and accountability,” said Lisa Rosenberg, Executive Director of Open the Government. “Now more than ever, the TGA includes needed reforms to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that would enhance the public’s access to information while reducing the body of secret law related to matters of public concern, including immigration policy and the use of military force abroad.”

This bill is supported by Demand Progress, Open the Government, and the American Library Association.