The Hill: Tester sponsors public information bill

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced the Senate companion piece Thursday to transparency legislation already offered in the House.

Tester introduced the Public Online Information Act, which would require the executive branch to post all of its public information online in a timely, user-friendly format. Tester told reporters that all too often, important documents gather dust in government warehouses and filing cabinets, instead of being shared with the public.

“They may be public but you have to sift them through themselves or wait for ages for copies of your own. We all know that’s not real transparency,” Tester said.

Tester’s bill follows the introduction of similar legislation in the House by Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) this March. The bill would get reams of information up online, such as administration officials’ financial disclosure forms as well as travel documents for trips paid for by interests outside the government.

Tester has been making his name as a reform-minded lawmaker. Earlier this week, the Montana Democrat signed onto a bill, sponsored by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), that would bar senators and House members from lobbying for life once they leave Congress.

On the call with reporters, the senator said he was the first member of Congress to post his daily schedule online. He also won’t allow himself to be lobbied by his former aides, nor will he rehire them once they migrate to K Street.

“When it comes to transparency, I try to lead by example,” Tester said.

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