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FOIA Reform Support Needed Now!

Earlier this year, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VIT) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced S. 2520, the FOIA Improvement Act. The bill has generated a lot of enthusiasm in the open government community because it puts reins on agencies' overuse of the exemption covering "pre-decisional material" by requiring that they weigh the public interest in the release of the record. The bill also strengthens the Office of Government Information Services, which was created in 2007 to help enforce the law and to help settle FOIA disputes out of court, and makes other common-sense changes to the way agencies process requests for records. Time is short, though! While the House already passed a similar bill, there are several steps the bill must go through before it can be written into law. "Read more" to find out more about the bill, and how you can help.

The CIA's Oversight Committee Doesn't Want It Deleting Emails Either

Last month, OpenTheGovernment.org and 16 other civil society groups wrote to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to oppose a CIA request for additional authority to destroy emails.  This week, five members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) also raised alarm about the proposal, including Chairman Dianne Feinstein and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss.

Open Gov Community Responds to FOIA Bill Committee Passage

See a round-up of our partners' statements about the FOIA Improvement Act below. OpenTheGovernment.org's statement is available here.

Statement: Senate Judiciary Committee Approves FOIA Improvement Act

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the FOIA Improvement Act today, prepping the bill for a vote by the full Senate. The bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy and John Cornyn bolsters the public’s ability to obtain information about what the federal government is doing and why.

Leahy-Cornyn Release Revised FOIA Reform Bill

On November 18 Senator Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Cornyn released a revised version of S. 2520, the FOIA Improvement Act. The Senate Judiciary Committee is poised to mark-up the bill on Thursday, November 20. More than 70 organizations joined in a letter authored by OTG and Public Citizen urging the Judiciary Committee to support the measure.

OpenTheGovernment.org’s Statement on the Senate's Failure to Advance USA Freedom Act

OpenTheGovernment.org is disappointed at the Senate’s failure to advance the compromise version of the USA Freedom Act (S. 2685) last night. The bill contained important advances for transparency about surveillance, though they were only a first step towards the disclosures that are necessary to restore democratic accountability.

OpenTheGovernment.org Supports Passage of the USA Freedom Act, Opposes Any Amendments to Weaken the Bill

Over the summer, OpenTheGovernment.org and a group of other transparency organizations wrote to Senate leadership to request that they allow a floor vote on the Senate compromise version of the USA FREEDOM Act, without any changes that weaken the text.

Lame Duck Looking Not So Lame for OpenGov

The lame duck session of the 113th Congress has already acted on one open government priority-- sending a bill to the President for signature that will help speed up the release of historical White House Records -- and leaders in the Senate have taken steps to push forward legislation to reform the National Surveillance Agency's (NSA) surveillance programs and to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). 

Senate Judiciary to Vote on FOIA Improvement Act Next Week - November 13, 2014 Newsletter

– Brief Updates on Coalition Partners & Others (more)
– Senate Judiciary Set to Vote on FOIA Reform (more)

Job Announcement -- Policy Associate

OpenTheGovernment.org seeks experienced applicants for the position of Policy Associate. OpenTheGovernment.org is a coalition of more than 90 organizations that are dedicated to making the federal government more open and accountable. Coalition members represent a broad and varied range of interests and cross the political spectrum. The coalition’s small staff works to organize the openness community around opportunities to influence federal policies.

The Classified Section

Check out our new blog, The Classified Section, for analysis of national security secrecy.

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