Their letter reportedly says, among other things, the following:
"The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a vital tool that protects one of the cornerstones of our Nation: the American public's right to know what its government is up to."
The Congressmen obviously did not ask the opinion of some Delaware County officials about the value of access-to-records laws (such as "don't get your nose into our business, etc.") before writing the letter.
It will definitely help not only for federal, but also for state public officials to read that letter.
Because it applies to state records, and state access-to-records laws, too.
And, of course, there are not only FOIA and FOIL among access-to-records laws, the scope of these laws is much broader, and all of those laws help people figure out what the government is up to.
I am currently preparing a book specifically on access to records in a certain narrow area of law where knowledge about access to records laws can help a lot of people who are, let's say, far from being privileged members of society.
I cannot promise the date of publication, as it gets delayed by my appeals of the disciplinary case (which now has a likelihood to head towards the U.S. Supreme Court), and I write in two languages at the same time (Russian and English, the books will not be 100% identical), but I do promise that
- it will be this year, that
- it will be affordable, that
- it will cite to free and readily available information sources and
- that it will be both in e-version and in print;
- there is a possibility of a Spanish translation the year after the year of publication; and
- there is a possibility of an audio version in Russian and in English.
And, of course, I promise thorough research and valuable information in the book as to how to access records in that narrow area of law (which will be applicable in wider settings, too, since these laws have a very wide area of application).
The value of access-to-records laws where litigation is pending, going on or threatened, is that such access-to-records efforts may be done as a leverage against the government, outside of court proceedings, and thus outside of control of courts that are often biased in government's favor.
The publication date approaches, but is still away.
I am vigorously working on the book and I promise I will make the publication date known on the blog.
I will post some interesting blogs tomorrow commenting on public documents obtained through access to records laws and otherwise freely obtained on the Internet.