Supplying the Information Required by Law: Directing the Federal Government to Identify All Federal Criminal Laws
by Paul Larkin
The Heritage Foundation
February 10, 2014
The Heritage Foundation has been concerned about the problem of overcriminalization for years. Most (but not all) of the papers that it has published on that subject have criticized Congress for passing unnecessary or unsatisfactory criminal laws. But Heritage also has given credit where credit was due. Recently, Heritage witnessed another creditworthy event. Two objections to the current state of federal law have been that no one knows how many federal crimes there are, and no one can easily find them all. Heritage and others have encouraged Congress to direct the executive branch to compile a list of all federal offenses and to make that list readily accessible to the average person without charge. Recently, the Senate Judiciary Committee took a positive step toward that goal.