CBS Evening News for Wednesday, Apr 20, 1977
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(Studio) After inauguration, Carter said Watergate taught him importance of openness in government, and promised to keep own administration open.
REPORTER: Walter Cronkite
(DC) Report on degree of openness in Carter administration, with regard to adherence to "government in sunshine" and Freedom of Info. Acts. [Assistant attorney general Barbara BABCOCK - cites views of what's incld. in public observation of government mtgs.] Justice Department attys. now defend 620 suits with regard to Freedom of Info. Act, because government agencies strive to fight it. Senator Edward Kennedy, who helped write law, says these cases could be cut. [KENNEDY - hopes for more efficiency in handling of cases.] FTC (Federal Trade Commission) reports with regard to requests for studies, from National, Budget and Avis car rental companies and Exxon Oil Corp., noted. Director of Reporters Committee for Freedom of Press, Jack Landau, says newspaper reader and television viewer no longer benefit most from act. [LANDAU - says act benefits those who stand to gain financially more than those who try to simply get information to public.] Search fees can be prohibitive, though agencies can waive them if request deemed in public interest. GSA recently refused to waive $2300 search fee for free-lance reporter David Rothman, when he believed he found conflict of interest story with regard to Arlan Realty and Dvt. Corporation director Joel West Solomon, who is Carter's appointee to head GSA. Rothman, writing for NYC's "Soho News", requested information and waiver of search fee refused by General Services Administration information director Admin. seems to be more open than before, but not as much as thought to be.
REPORTER: Roger Mudd
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