Businessweek Archives

The Gop's Stumble In Cyberspace


Up Front: I-WAY PATROL

THE GOP'S STUMBLE IN CYBERSPACE

CYBERDEMOCRACY SEEMS TO have backfired on House Republicans, who are big boosters. Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) wants Capitol Hill more wired into the Internet, so citizens have direct access to their government. Fine, except for a furious electronic lobbying battle over public access to a Justice Dept. database on court decisions.

The Republicans were stymied on their bid to aid West Publishing, the company that helped set up the database for Justice and also makes a lucrative living supplying legal citations to private lawyers. West worries that, since the database is part of a public agency, it could be released to Internet bulletin boards--destroying the company's main business. Result: Chairman William Clinger (R-Pa.) recently tried to push a measure through his House Government Reform & Oversight Committee aimed at blocking public access to the database without West's O.K. McGraw-Hill, publisher of BUSINESS WEEK, backed West.

Outraged, Naderite lobbyist Jamie Love, head of the Taxpayer Assets Project, posted a note on the Net that decried the provision as thwarting access to public documents.

Lawmakers were flooded with fax and E-mail protests. The committee overwhelmingly voted down Clinger's proposal, and it now says it plans to give the idea more study.EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT, WITH RUTH COXETER Catherine Yang


Toyota's Hydrogen Man
LIMITED-TIME OFFER SUBSCRIBE NOW
 
blog comments powered by Disqus