In its latest attempt at citizen muckraking, the international transparency activist group Wikileaks announced its intention to crowd source a $100,000 reward in return for 26 chapters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Tuesday.
“The transparency clock has run out on the TPP. No more secrecy. No more excuses. Let’s open the TPP once and for all,” declared Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
Negotiated in secret between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations, the TPP remains highly controversial. Labor activists, environmental groups, and Democratic members of Congress argue that the TPP would allow corporations to flout the judgments of domestic courts, put American workers at a competitive disadvantage and allow multinational corporations to disregard environmental regulations.
Wikileaks also contends that the TPP would “police the Internet on behalf of the content industry, limit the availability of affordable generic medicines, and drastically curtail each country’s legislative sovereignty.”
Supporters of the TPP, including President Barack Obama, argue there is “nothing secret” about the trade agreement. Members of Congress are in fact allowed to read all chapters of the TPP at a secure location, provided they do not take notes or pictures of the TPP draft.
The final draft of the TPP will be released 60 days before President Obama signs the agreement. Lawmakers who vote for the TPP will also forfeit their rights to amend the agreement reports NPR.
Critics of the TPP argue that the secrecy surrounding the agreement is designed to insulate it from the criticism it deserves.
“[They] can’t make this deal public because if the American people saw what was in it, they would be opposed to it,” wrote Senator Elizabeth Warren on her blog.
Wikileaks has already released three chapters of the TPP, concerning intellectual property rights, the environment and investment.
On Wednesday, reports the Huffington Post, Wikileaks released 17 documents related to negotiations on the Trade In Services Agreement, another trade agreement between the United States, the European Union and more than 20 other countries.
As of Thursday morning, Wikileaks had successfully crowd funded more than $44,000 or 44% of its stated goal of $100,000.