– Brief Updates on Coalition Partners & Others (more)
– Senate Armed Services Committee Votes to Close NDAA Markup (more)
– Department of State and NARA Respond to Coalition Letter Regarding Clinton’s Email (more)
The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse’s FOIA Project sent simple, identical requests for structured FOIA logs to 21 agencies in late January. Sixty-five business days later, only seven fulfilled the requests in a complete and usable form. The Project asked for electronic files the FOIA offices use to keep track of FOIA requests in a format that preserves the structure of the data. Read the full report here.
CEG Publishes Report on Chemical Hazards
“Do your first responders have the information they need in an emergency?” In many states, it may be difficult to find out. The Center for Effective Government examined public access to chemical reporting in the new publication “Chemical Hazards in Your Backyard.” The report comes two years after the West, Texas fertilizer plan explosion. In that case, “neither the firefighters nor the town officials…fully understood the risks the fertilizer storage facility presented.” CEG found that many states make it difficult for the public to obtain data on hazardous chemicals. Only Illinois makes the data available in full online. Read the full report and the Center’s recommendations here.
This month, OpenTheGovernment.org joined the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) and a total of 60 groups to urge the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) to open the markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to the public. The House Armed Services Committee has held an open markup of the massive Pentagon spending bill for years. As POGO notes, it is still possible to convince the Senate to shine a light on defense spending before the markup begins in three weeks.
In March, 10 groups joined Cause of Action and OpenTheGovernment.org in a letter to the Secretary of State and the Archivist of the United States, requesting that they independently verify the preservation of federal records among the emails in electronic form. NARA quickly responded, sharing the letter the agency sent to the Department of State requesting a comprehensive response within 30 days. State included several records the Department sent in response to NARA’s inquiry in a letter to OTG. It is unclear whether this response fulfills NARA’s request for a report on the management of former Secretaries of State’s email records from Secretary Clinton dating back to Secretary Albright, and the current status of those records.