Federal office charges other agencies for reports they can get for free

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A federal agency that has lost millions of tax dollars while attempting to sell government reports that are available free of charge online could be on the chopping bloc as a result of a bipartisan proposal in Congress.

The National Technical Information Service, an arm of the Commerce Department, has been the subject of criticism in recent years from government and independent watchdogs who decry its outdated business model as an example of government waste.

NTIS was created more than 60 years ago as a central repository of all government reports where citizens could locate and purchase documents from any federal agency.

In the digital age, however, agencies can upload their reports to the Internet for little cost, dramatically reducing the need for a third party to provide access to such documents.

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