ACUS Chairman PAUL VERKUIL
Dear Bill and Paul:
As Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said, "it is revolting to have no other reason for a rule of law than that it was laid down during the reign of Henry IV." ACUS' interpretation is wrong.
From: Bill Richardson
Sent: Fri, Aug 27, 2010 5:39 pm
Subject: RE: ACUS Council Meeting Monday, August 30th Must be Opened to Public Under FACA
Since the enactment of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) in 1972, ACUS has consistently interpreted FACA to apply to the ACUS Assembly and its committees, but not to the ACUS Council. Thus, in determining that Monday’s meeting of the Council will not be open to the public, ACUS is following its long-established practice. The agency’s recently refiled FACA charter confirms that “All meetings of the [ACUS] Assembly and [its] subcommittees will be open to the public and announced in accordance with FACA.”
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, August 27, 2010 11:55 AM
To: Bill Richardson; Paul R. Verkuil
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; EASlavin@aol.com
Subject: ACUS Council Meeting Monday, August 30th Must be Opened to Public Under FACA
Dear Bill and Paul:
In paragraph 13 of your August 26, 2010 letter, the newly-reviving Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) asserts its Council is exempt from FACA open meeting requirements. I respectfully disagree. In pertinent part, 5 U.S.C. 595(b) states:
The Council has the power to
(1) determine the time and place of plenary sessions of the Conference and the agenda for the sessions. The Council shall call at least one plenary session each year;
(2) propose bylaws and regulations, including rules of procedure and committee organization, for adoption by the Assembly;
(3) make recommendations to the Conference or its committees on a subject germane to the purpose of the Conference;
(4) receive and consider reports and recommendations of committees of the Conference and send them to members of the Conference with the views and recommendations of the Council;
(5) designate a member of the Council to preside at meetings of the Council in the absence or incapacity of the Chairman and Vice Chairman;
(6) designate such additional officers of the Conference as it considers desirable;
(7) approve or revise the budgetary proposals of the Chairman; and
(8) exercise such other powers as may be delegated to it by the Assembly.
Based on the plain meaning of the statute, I reckon that FACA applies. Thus, Monday morning's proposed secret meeting of the Council of a FACA-chartered committee is a violation of the public's Right to Know. The meeting must be open to the public. All Council meetings must be open to the public in the future.
By copy of this letter, I am reporting ACUS' planned Monday morning FACA violation to Professor Cass Sunstein and his staff at OIRA and I am requesting that OIRA instruct Chairman Verkuil on the importance of Sunshine in our government.
Upon reflection and review of the statute, I am certain that you and Chairman Verkuil agree today that the meeting on August 30, 2010 must be open to the public.
If, however, you still opine that the Administrative Conference of the United States meeting Monday should be run outside of the Sunshine, please:
(a) Cite by close of business today any legal opinions from DOJ, GSA, GAO or otherwise.
(b) State whether President Obama and Professor Cass Sunstein and his staff at OIRA are aware that the meeting on August 30, 2010 will be in secret.
For the record, I request to attend by "conference call." I believe at least one person in the Washington, D.C. area will want to attend, so please make arrangements to welcome visitors to ACUS' first meeting since 1995.
From: Bill Richardson
Sent: Thu, Aug 26, 2010 4:10 pm
Subject: ACUS response to your July 29 e-mail
Enclosed on behalf of ACUS is a response to your request. Because of the size
of the enclosures, I have broken them up into four e-mail packages that I will
be sending shortly one by one. (Organize them in reverse order: 4, 3, 2, 1.)
Let me know if you have difficulty accessing the materials.