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Coburn: Feds sell reports I post for free on my website

by Chris Casteel Published: April 3, 2014
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WASHINGTON _ Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, and Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, are among the bipartisan authors of a bill to eliminate an agency that sells free government reports to other federal agencies and the public at a loss to taxpayers.
According to lawmakers, the National Technical Information Service has lost more than $1 million trying to sell government reports that are available for free online “with a money-losing profit model only the government could design.”
“This is the ‘let me google that for you’ office of the federal government,” Coburn said. “Nearly all of the reports being sold are already available for free on other government websites, including my own. NTIS is selling at least six of the oversight reports issued by my office, such as the annual Wastebook which details outrageous Washington spending and mismanagement.
“Ironically, the latest edition of Wastebook _ which lists NTIS as one of the most wasteful government offices _ is not available for sale yet by NTIS.
“I have sent a letter to the Department of Commerce today requesting the office stop charging for the reports that I issue to taxpayers at no cost that highlight government waste, like the NTIS.”
Bridenstine said, “Only the federal government would attempt to sell what you can get for free, make no money, then subsidize the failure.”
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, are co-sponsoring the legislation.

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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