Bad Watchdog Season 2 launches June 20.

Policy Letter

Transparency Groups Thank Senator Leahy for Fighting Against Unnecessary Secrecy on Farm Bill

January 30, 2014

The Honorable Patrick Leahy


Judiciary Committee

437 Russell Senate Building

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Leahy,

We, the undersigned organizations, write to thank you for your extraordinary efforts to preserve the public’s right to know about agricultural and livestock operations, and your continued commitment to protecting the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Thanks to your leadership, people who live near or share waterways with concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in Vermont and across the United States will continue to have access to information that is critical for public health and safety.

Your dedication to the government transparency kept dangerous provisions that threatened the right to know from being included in the final version of the Farm Bill. As you well know, the House-proposed language would have undermined the FOIA’s balanced approach to releasing information that is in the public interest. The FOIA already includes strong protections for personal and private information. These protections rightly keep the personal information of individuals and small family operations from inappropriately being released. The House’s proposed language set a dangerous precedent of extending the FOIA’s privacy protections to corporations.

We thank you, again, for your continued commitment to the protection of the public’s right to know and for your leadership in removing these damaging provisions from the Farm Bill.


American Association of Law Libraries

Brechner Center for Freedom of Information

Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

Community Research

Defending Dissent Foundation

National Coalition Against Censorship

Northern California Association of Law Libraries

Project On Government Oversight

Public Citizen

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Society of Professional Journalists

Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University