Hope for FOIA Reform in the 114th Congress – January 20, 2015 Newsletter


– Brief Updates on Coalition Partners & Others (more)
– Join OpenTheGovernment.org for a Sunshine Week Town Hall (more)
– Hope for FOIA Reform in the 114th Congress (more)

News from Coalition Partners & Others

National Institute on Money in State Politics Presents ‘Ask Anything’ Webinars

Starting this month, the National Institute on Money in State Politics (FollowTheMoney.org) is presenting 20 minute webinars demoing the Institute’s Ask Anything tool. Future webinar topics include how to “crack the books on charter schools,” at noon EST on January 22nd, and how to find information about the gas and oil industry on February 3rd. Learn more about future webinars here.  

POGO Congressional Oversight Initiative to Launch Subpoena Rule Database 

The Project On Government Oversight will soon launch an online database of Congressional committees’ and subcommittees’ subpoena an deposition rules for the 114th Congress. The database will be updated one the new rules are approved for this Congress. See POGO’s compilation of rules for the 113th Congress here.

Submit Nominations for WCOG’s Kenneth Bunting Award 

The Washington Coalition for Open Government has created an award in honor of the late Ken Bunting, a founding board member of the organization, director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) and a former Steering Committee member at OpenTheGovernment.org. The award will celebrate journalism that illustrates the value of open government. The deadline for nominations is January 31st, 2015. Learn more about the award here.


Join OpenTheGovernment.org for a Sunshine Week Town Hall

At noon ET On Thursday, January 22nd, join the openness community for a town hall discussion about plans for the March celebration of freedom of information. Participants will share ideas and plans for the week and identify opportunities for collaboration. To attend in person, please RSVP to apaulson@openthegovernment.org by 3pm Wednesday, January 21st.

Hope for FOIA Reform in the 114th Congress

Freedom of Information Act reform legislation passed in both chambers of Congress in 2014, but the bipartisan FOIA Improvement Act stalled out in the House of Representatives when Speaker John Boehner failed to schedule a vote before the end of the 113th Congress. There is interest, though, in both chambers to push for FOIA reform from the FOIA Improvement Act’s co-sponsors Senators Patrick Leahy and John Cornyn, from Senator Chuck Grassley, and the new House Oversight and Government Reform chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz. We look forward to working with them to pass meaningful FOIA reform this year, and hope to see progress by Sunshine Week.