FOIA Under the Microscope: Center for Effective Government, National Security Archive, and Cause of Action Release Reports

Sunshine Week is a perfect time to reflect on the current state of the Freedom of Information Act. Three coalition partners issued reports that examine FOIA’s implementation.

The National Security Archive audited agencies’ compliance with the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments (E-FOIA), and found that only 40 percent of agencies followed through and systematically posted records released through FOIA on the electronic reading rooms. National Security Archive Director Tom Blanton notes in the report, “The presumption of openness requires the presumption of posting. For the new generation, if it’s not online, it does not exist.” See the Archive’s “E-Stars” and “E-Delinquents” in the full report.

The Center for Effective Government issued a report card for 15 agencies receiving the most FOIA requests. Although many agencies showed signs of improvement, several received failing grades. CEG’s report rated agencies’ performance on the quality of agencies’ FOIA websites, timeliness of processing requests, and the clarity of FOIA regulations.

Cause of Action recently published its annual “Grading the Government” report and assigned the 15 cabinet departments grades for average response times in fiscal year 2014. Notably, Cause of Action found that Department of Treasury, Homeland Security, and Education did not submit annual FOIA reports. See the report card and methodology here.


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