Group sues government for settlement info

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An organization called Public Citizen filed a lawsuit on Monday to get the United States to release details of the concessions it made to other nations to settle its online gambling dispute being handled by the World Trade Organization.

Public Citizen contends that President George W. Bush's administration is illegally withholding details of its agreement with the European Union, which gives the European Union access to more business sectors in the United States as compensation for the country closing off its borders to online gambling.

"Americans have a right to know what kinds of trade concessions the U.S. government is granting other countries, especially when those deals have a significant impact on domestic policy and may be worth billions of dollars," said Bonnie I. Robin-Vergeer, a Public Citizen attorney.

"The Bush administration's decision to withhold the agreement under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has more to do with its desire to prevent public and congressional scrutiny of the settlement before it is enshrined in a new WTO schedule than it does with national security. FOIA requires the agreement's release."

In 2007, the WTO authorized Antigua and Barbuda to impose trade sanctions against the United States because it hadn't brought its New Hope for U.S. Net Gambling Regulations

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