ABSTRACT

Report Card on Federal Government's Efforts to Track and Manage FOIA Requests   [open pdf - 179KB]

"The American people have a fundamental right to know how government works and what is being done with taxpayer dollars. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is the primary resource the American public has available to them to fulfill that right. [...] As part of a broader effort to conduct oversight over FOIA to help improve government transparency, on January 25, 2011, Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa sent a letter to 180 entities representing 100 government agencies requesting information about their FOIA tracking systems. The letter requested each entity to provide an electronic and sortable copy of its FOIA logs containing the following information: 1) the name of the requester; 2) the date of the request; 3) a brief description of the documents or records sought by the request; 4) any tracking number assigned to the request by the agency as required by Section 7 of the OPEN [Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our National] Government Act of 2007; 5) the date the request was closed, if not still an outstanding request; 6) whether records were provided in response to the request; 7) any additional identification number or codes assigned to the request by the agency for internal use. The ability and willingness of agencies to submit this information (or lack thereof) served as the basis of an objective evaluation by committee staff of agency FOIA management. While high grades do not necessarily mean that agencies are providing thorough, timely, and appropriate responses to individual FOIA requestors, they do indicate a willingness and ability by an agency FOIA office to show accountability and transparency in the management of requests. Lower scores, on the other hand, generally indicate agencies that are unwilling or struggling to demonstrate transparency about their own efforts to manage and respond to FOIA requests."

Publisher:
Date:
2012-03-15
Copyright:
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: http://oversight.house.gov/
Format:
pdf
Media Type:
application/pdf
URL:
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