EPIC and Coalition Urge Congress to Include Transparency and Accountability Provisions in Next COVID-19 Stimulus
EPIC and a coalition of open government groups sent a letter to both the House and Senate urging Congress to include transparency and accountability measures in the next legislative response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The group recommended that Congress: strengthen protections for inspector generals, expand the funding for open government, broaden whistleblower protections, narrow the coronavirus relief bill's (CARES Act) secrecy exemption, promote court access, fortify the coronavirus relief bill's oversight mechanisms, disclose Office of Legal Counsel opinions related to the pandemic, and fund congressional oversight. The letter stated, "[d]uring this time of national crisis, it is vital that the public has timely access to information and that oversight mechanisms are as robust as possible, so that errors and abuses that threaten public health can be swiftly rectified." Last month, EPIC at 131 other organizations issued a public statement supporting government transparency and public access to information as the U.S. responds to the coronavirus pandemic.