Ralph Nader
                       P.O. Box 19312
                    Washington, DC 20036

                         James Love
               Consumer Project on Technology
            P.O. Box 19367, Washington, DC 20036

December 11, 2001

Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr., Director
Office of Management and Budget
Executive Office Building
17th Street & Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D C 20503

Dear Mr. Daniels:

Thank you for your letter of November 26, 2001 regarding our
proposal that the federal government routinely publish the
text of federal contracts on the Internet.  We interpreted
your response as favorable in terms of the benefits of
greater transparency, but negative in terms of the costs,
primarily due to the costs of redacting confidential
information from contracts.

We agree that it would be costly for third parties to redact
the more than 500,000 contacts in excess of $25,000.
However, rather than simply closing the door on this issue,
we urge you to find practical ways to make this work.    In
particular, we ask that you consider two different

1.   Consider alternatives to the greater than $25,000
threshold, including possibly OMB's own definition of a
major contract.  There surely must be some threshold for
which no one can deny that the benefits of disclosure
outweigh the costs.   We are quite interested in seeing this
move forward, even if the initial threshold is quite higher.

2.   Consider adopting a policy that requires government
officials to pro-actively address the redacting issue, when
the contract is first written.  Specifically, we propose
that for every contract, there be an ordinary obligation
that the contract include an electronic copy with legitimate
redactions (if any are required) that can be published on
the Internet.   Once this obligation becomes routine,
contracting officials should find it relatively
straightforward to address the redacting issue up front,
working directly with the parties who have insight into the
relevant confidentially issues, including the non-government
parties to the contact.  If citizens are unhappy with the
amount of redactions, they can then press for more
disclosure, once they have access to the contracts on the

We would be happy to meet with you or the relevant OMB staff
to discuss the practical and technical details.  We look
forward to continuing this dialogue toward a beneficial
conclusion for the American people.


Ralph Nader                        James Love