and CREW Release Analysis of Effect of Obama FOIA Policy

An analysis released in late December by CREW and of data collected by the government on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) processing reveals challenges the Obama Administration must overcome to create the "unprecedented level of openness" President Obama promised on his first day in office.

The analysis compares data from agencies' annual FOIA reports for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, the first full year of data under the Obama Administration, and FY 2008, the last full year of data under the Bush Administration. As chronicled in the report, Measuring Transparency Under the FOIA: The Real Story Behind the Numbers, the results are mixed: agencies generally processed more requests more quickly under President Obama, and agencies used more exemptions to withhold information under President Obama.

More shocking were the myriad of problems with the quality of the government's FOIA data, and with the "public dashboard" set up by the Department of Justice,, to allow the public to easily view the data and hold agencies accountable for how well – or poorly- they met their obligations to answer public requests for information. The report includes several recommendations for addressing these problems and making meaningful oversight of FOIA possible.

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