Kyl admitted publicly Thursday that he placed a secret hold on Senate Bill 849, also known as the Open Government Act of 2007. The bill would significantly reform the federal Freedom of Information Act, which is one of the strongest tools Americans have to supervise the inner workings of government and to hold elected officials accountable.
SPJ members helped unmask Kyl by asking every U.S. senator whether he or she placed the secret hold. Members reported their findings online.
On May 31, Ryan Patmintra, Kyl’s press secretary, confirmed that Kyl placed the hold to allow for more negotiations among him, bill co-sponsor Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and the U.S. Department of Justice. It is no secret that Kyl has concerns about the Open Government Act, Patmintra said.
“If Sen. Kyl's concerns are no secret, then why would he insist on working from the shadows to place a hold on this very important legislation?” asked Christine Tatum, SPJ's President and an assistant features editor at The Denver Post. “The irony of secretly blocking a vote on a bill that would make government more transparent is supreme. Sen. Kyl should feel pretty silly.”
Kyl is behind another bill that concerns SPJ. Known as the Kyl Amendment, this bill would criminalize the leaking—and publishing—of classified information.
“So, Sen. Kyl is ‘Senator Secrecy’ in more ways than one,” Tatum said.