Skip to main content

Syndicate contentImproving Access

Improving Access

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), enacted in 1966 and amended several times, establishes the public's right to obtain information from federal government agencies to "ensure an informed citizenry, vital to the functioning of a democratic society, needed to check against corruption, and to hold the governors accountable to the governed." OpenTheGovernment.org works with our partners, the Administration, and Congress to secure full implementation of the FOIA, the amendments to it, and the FOIA reform promised by the White House and the Attorney General

DOD FOIA Response Adds a New Meaning to the Term "Snail Mail"

In today's mail we received a new example that illustrates why we called the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) "anything but an efficient and effective tool that the public can use to get timely access to government records" in our recent testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee: a final response to a FOIA request we made to the Department of Defense (DOD) almost a year and a half ago, and that DOD had told use to expect within "

FOIA Under Scrutiny for Sunshine Week

Sunshine Week officially began on Monday, but OpenTheGovernment.org and many of our partners began the celebration early, paying particular attention to the Freedom of Information Act.

Testimony: Reinvigorating the FOIA for the Digital Age

Full text is below. Watch the testimony here. Amy Bennett's full written testimony is available here

Clinton White House Records Released, No Assertion of Privilege

On February 28th, the former President’s Library released several thousand pages of records from the Clinton White House. Under the Presidential Records Act, records may be withheld for processing for up to 12 years after a president leaves office.

Groups Support House Passage of FOIA Bill

More than two dozen organizations (including OpenTheGovernment.org) joined the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) in supporting passage of H.R. 1211, a bill to improve the government's processing of requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The House is expected to vote on the bill tomorrow afternoon (February 25). Click on "read more" to see the letter, and the signatories.

The Time is Ripe for Increased Access to Congressional Mandated Reports

Twenty organizations dedicated to transparency and accountability called on Congress to consider the bipartisan Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act (H.R. 1380). The legislation would require any congressionally mandated report that is releasable under the Freedom of Information Act be made available online by the Government Printing Office. The common-sense legislation would create one central and searchable repository for the reports, which are currently difficult to find.

Bringing a Focus on the Freedom of Information Act

Over the past few months, OpenTheGovernment.org has been working to bring a renewed focus to how the open government community can work together to address some of the major issues with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Right to Know Preserved in Final Version of Farm Bill

After months of conference negotiations, the Farm Bill has moved forward without the provisions that would have cut of public access to information about agricultural and livestock information.  The language, originally in the House-passed bill, would have prohibited disclosure of information about any owner, operator, or employee of an agricultural or livestock operation. The public, particularly the neighbors of these operations, require access to information about the operations to ensure their health and safety.

Commitment Analysis: Devil in the Details with New Commitments to Improve FOIA

The following analysis was written by OpenTheGovernment.org.

On December 8, the Administration committed to taking a series of concrete steps in the next two years with the goal of improving implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The steps include: creating a consolidated online FOIA service; developing common FOIA regulations; scaling up targeted efforts to make processing requests more efficient (sharing best practices); establishing a FOIA Modernization Advisory Committee; and improving FOIA training. If the government meets these commitments, will it actually be any easier for the public to ask for and receive government information?

Featured Work

Celebrate our 10th anniversary with us on May 8th, 2014! More information available here

Premium Drupal Themes by Adaptivethemes