Skip to Main Content

Leahy, POGO, and Partners Stall Farm Bill Secrecy Amendment

Our Tabke Box

Earlier this week, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Joe Donnelly (D-In.) proposed amendments to the Farm Bill (S. 954) that would shield from public disclosure even basic information about the location of livestock operations. News of these unnecessary secrecy amendments caused the Project On Government Oversight and partners to spring into action to join Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in opposing the amendments.  

According to congressional staff, one of the Grassley-Donnelly amendments likely would have passed yesterday, but it was blocked because objections by Senator Leahy, POGO, and partners could not be overcome before the Senate recessed for the Memorial Day holiday. Angela Canterbury, Public Policy Director of POGO, said of the legislative roller coaster, “Thankfully, we were able to make our concerns heard and provide the pressure needed to support Senator Leahy’s efforts. Otherwise, the amendment might have sailed through.”

As POGO and other transparency advocates explained in a letter asking Senators to vote NO on the amendments, this legislation “would undermine the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by creating an unnecessary secrecy provision at odds with FOIA’s goal of transparency.”

Canterbury further explained the consequences of the amendments, saying, “These proposed amendments would put the private interests of corporate farms above the public's right to know. The law already protects the privacy of individuals. Big corporate farms should not have the same rights to privacy as people.”

But, there’s more to be done—we want to prevent these amendments from coming back to the floor when the Senate returns from recess. Voting on the Farm Bill will begin again on June 3, so write your Senators today!

Images by Flickr users Socially Responsible Agricultural Project and RestrictedData.

By: Christine Anderson
Public Policy Fellow, POGO

Christine Anderson At the time of publication Christine Anderson was a public policy fellow for the Project On Government Oversight.

Topics: Government Accountability

Related Content: FOIA, Information Access, Open Government

Authors: Christine Anderson

Submitted by palmer1619 at: May 28, 2013
The only reason I've come up with for this amendment is that the livestock could actually be in another country. What other reason could there be. And I thought these guys were concerned about the debt. Imagine that.

Leave A Comment

Nickname
Comment
Enter this word: Change

Related Posts

Browse POGOBlog by Topic

POGO on Facebook

Latest Podcast

Podcast; Social Media, Internet Provides Opportunities, Challenges for Lawmakers

The Congressional Management Foundation offers the Gold Mouse Awards annually to members of Congress who make the most of the opportunity the digital world offers them. POGO spoke with members of Rep. Mike Honda's communications team about their award.