Charles Grassley

(KMAland) -- Senator Chuck Grassley says checkoff programs should not be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

Grassley spoke to reporters in a conference call Thursday saying Ag commodity groups such as checkoff programs, should be subject to FOIA.

“The federal government is policing the system and as long as the federal government is involved, the public’s business ought to be public.”

Grassley says FOIA plays an important role in ensuring more transparency and accountability.

“During the Commodity Futures Trading Commission markup, in committee last month, [we passed] a bipartisan amendment to strip out excessive FOIA exemptions regulated by the CFTC were pursuing.”

He says now they are seeing similar issues in the House Ag Appropriations Committee.

“The report of that committee currently includes language encouraging a FOIA exemption for checkoff programs that promote certain commodity products. After hearing about the language in the house bill, Senator [Patrick] Leahy, [of Vermont] went to work and we pushed back on the industry.”

Grassley says he doesn’t know when further action will take place on the appropriations bill because they have a recess and convention coming up in a few weeks.

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