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Birthday Wishes to America and FOIA

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July 4, 2007

Today, Executive Director Anthony Romero marks Independence Day on The Huffington Post with the commemoration of another historic day: July 4, 1966, the day the Freedom of Information Act was signed into law. Anthony gives a brief history lesson on its birth, and why FOIA is so critical today.

FOIA’s history is telling. It’s the daughter of the Cold War, and McCarthyism’s wiser, honorable cousin. It was vastly unpopular in the federal agencies and the White House – the branch of government with the most to gain from keeping secrets – and yet unanimously supported in Congress. It shows how a functioning democracy can institute appropriate checks on the government, even during a time of national security crisis.

In March, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced the Open Government Act, which would protect and strengthen FOIA. But one man, Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) is stopping it from going to vote. You can express your support for this important piece of legislation by writing your senators and telling them to urge Jon Kyl to let this bill go to vote.