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Congressional Research Service reports, funded by taxpayers but not readily available to the public, are a valuable tool for reporters.
CRS reports become public when a member of Congress releases the report. However, the number of reports released is a small fraction of the number of reports provided for Congress by CRS. Over the years, several organizations have endeavoured to amass collections of released reports.
Federation of American Scientists (FAS) Project on Government Secrecy
The FAS collection of CRS reports primarily addresses national security, foreign policy and related topics. Many of these are useful to environmental reporters.
- Search results for SEJ WatchDog postings of FAS' environment-related CRS reports.
- Two new CRS reports of interest: Federal Involvement in Flood Response and Flood Infrastructure Repair: Storm Sandy Recovery (October 31, 2012) and Emergency Relief Program: Federal-Aid Highway Assistance for Disaster-Damaged Roads and Bridges (November 1, 2012).
A project of the Center for Democracy & Technology, Open CRS is a central repository of reports already in the public domain, through the cooperation of several organizations and collectors of CRS reports.
Not all publicly available reports are posted on the Open CRS website. The sporadic way the reports are released renders it impossible to collect them in a methodical manner. Nonetheless, the site is updated with new reports as possible, is searchable, and offers links to some large collections. Updates of reports added to Open CRS are also available on Twitter, through a mailing list, RSS Feeds and an API.
Open CRS also provides a list of recently released reports and includes a feature whereby new reports can be uploaded anonymously.