Lance: It's Official: Taxpayer-funded CRS Reports Are Now Public Information

Press Release

Date: Sept. 18, 2018
Location: Flemington, NJ

Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) today hailed the launch of -- the culmination of a Lance-driven transparency effort requiring reports produced by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) be made available to the public. Lance has been the champion in forcing the CRS to publish its reports online, similar to other governmental agencies, to help foster more factual and nonpartisan information into the public dialogue. Taxpayers were also paying for the reports and unable to read them.

"It's official -- taxpayer-funded CRS reports are now public information. Students, journalists, taxpayers and interested citizens should count today as a win for good governance. The era of secrecy is over and CRS reports are now coming online for all to read. It is my hope the nonpartisan information contained in CRS reports injects accuracy into our public debates. Let's share these reports widely," said Lance.

Reports and other information compiled by the Congressional Research Service, a branch of the Library of Congress, were not previously publically available. Since 1914, reports have only been available for request through U.S. House and U.S. Senate offices. Lance has led the charge of bipartisan and bicameral lawmakers saying it is time to bring CRS into the 21st century and make the reports available on a website.

The New York Times supported the effort in an editorial, Congressional Research Belongs to the Public (6/17/15), stating, "Every day, the Congressional Research Service, a little-known government agency attached to the Library of Congress, churns out papers on issues as varied as the defense budget, the farm bill and nuclear weapons. They're not classified. They're nonpartisan. And unlike many government reports, they're fairly easy to understand. Yet it's hard for most people to get copies of reports produced by the Congressional Research Service, which operates as an in-house think-tank for lawmakers. That is absurd."

Requesting CRS reports through House and Senate offices is often cited as a throwback to the era of patronage jobs and hard-copy reports being too long and expensive for CRS to be available to send through the mail. Good government and transparency groups and taxpayer advocacy organizations support allowing these reports to be publically available and putting non-partisan, factual information into public discourse. Lance and his backers also wanted to end the "black market' of CRS reports by which connected individuals and lobbyists obtained the reports from contacts on Capitol Hill but everyday Americans were shutout.

Lance's legislative language was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, directing the Librarian of Congress, in consultation with the CRS Director, to establish and maintain a website that will make CRS reports available directly to the public. The site launched today at

The effort picked up new momentum when Lance and Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL-05) joined U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and the late Senator John McCain (R-AZ) in introducing the Equal Access to Congressional Research Service Reports Act.