Freedom of Information Act: Selected Agencies Adapted to COVID-19 Challenges but Actions Needed to Reduce Backlogs, Statement of James R. Mctigue, Jr., Director, Strategic Issues, Testimony Before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate [open pdf - 464KB]
From the Highlights: "FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] seeks to improve the public's access to government information and promote openness and accountability in government. However, the COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic presented challenges for FOIA administration by significantly affecting how federal employees performed their work as agencies adopted a maximum telework posture and limited on-site work. GAO [Government Accountability Office] was asked to testify on FOIA government-wide performance and the associated impact of the pandemic. Specifically, this statement summarizes the results from GAO's previously issued reports on (1) government-wide FOIA performance for fiscal year 2020 compared to fiscal year 2019 and long-term trends from fiscal years 2012 through 2020; (2) selected agencies' initial pandemic-related challenges and their use of leading practices to maintain FOIA operations; (3) selected agencies' continuing challenges with FOIA request backlogs; and (4) selected agencies' use of proactive information disclosures--making records publicly available without waiting for specific requests."
Government Accountability Office: https://www.gao.gov/