A member of the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform has been complaining loudly about the requirement that the panel always meet in public to discuss its plan, according to reports.

Panel member Bill Frenzel, a former Minnesota Congressman, has said that the federal sunshine laws governing presidentially appointed panels were a huge restriction on the panel's work. Frenzel, who also served on President Bush's Commission to Strengthen Social Security, said that if all nine members had been able to meet privately, the final report might have provided more details about the best way to carry out meaningful tax reform.

The Federal Advisory Committee Act requires that full committee hearings be open to the public, and that documents made available to committee members for hearings be available to the public and press well in advance. The tax reform panel met publicly more than a dozen times since President Bush named its members in January. The members occasionally met in small group sessions, but only because four or fewer members -- not a quorum -- were present.

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