Sending Office: Honorable Matt Cartwright
Please join us in creating transparency and accountability for legal opinions issued by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) by
cosponsoring the OLC SUNLIGHT (See UNdisclosed Legal Interpretations and Get Honest Transparency) Act.
The OLC acts as a legal advisor to the executive branch by interpreting the laws Congress passes. OLC describes its “core function” as providing “controlling advice to Executive Branch officials on questions of law that are centrally important to the functioning
of the Federal Government.” This advice “may effectively be the final word on the controlling law.” Despite their profound impact on the operation of the federal government, OLC opinions are routinely withheld from both Congress and
the public and constitute a large body of secret law.
While the full scope of issues addressed by OLC opinions is unknown, the limited number we do have access to have addressed a wide range of legal questions. For example, they reach conclusions regarding:
- Individuals’ eligibility for senior government positions
- The legality of targeted drone strikes
- Whether “enhanced interrogations” constitute torture
- Domestic surveillance in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
- The necessity of responding to inquiries by rank and file Members of Congress
The OLC SUNLIGHT Act would simply permit Congress and the public to access these otherwise secret opinions and understand how the executive branch interprets the legislation we author and live under.
Please join us in accomplishing this by cosponsoring the OLC SUNLIGHT Act. For further information, or if you would like to cosponsor the OLC Transparency Act, please contact
Jeremy.Marcus@mail.house.gov in Rep. Cartwright’s office,
ZJ.Hull@mail.house.gov in Rep. Lofgren’s office,
Hannah.Mansbach@mail.house.gov in Rep. Quigley’s office.
Matt Cartwright Mike Quigley Zoe Lofgren
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0