Partners Urge House to Vote NO on Amendment to DHS Spending Bill that Could Hobble FOIA

OpenTheGovernment.org joins with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) to urge Members of Congress to vote NO on a proposed amendment by Representative Amash (R-MI) that would hobble the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by prohibiting relevant employees from facilitating FOIA requests.

 

As organizations dedicated to openness and accountability, we support finding ways to deter or rein in inappropriate political interference in the FOIA process throughout the government, but this proposal goes too far.

 

Our organizations are concerned that Representative Amash’s amendment, which would ban the use of funds for any action by a political appointee to delay, vacate, or reverse any decision by an employee in the Privacy Office of DHS to make records available under FOIA, would, in part:

  • Prevent the Chief FOIA Officer from making FOIA decisions;
  • Limit the ability of FOIA offices to seek the kind of guidance that is often required from personnel up the chain or in other departments, such as the General Counsel’s office;
  • Undermine the administrative appellate process; and
  • Prevent the Secretary of DHS from fulfilling her legal oblgation to ensure FOIA is properly implemented. 

See the open letter to House Members here.

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