FOIA Reform: Right Idea, Wrong Time?

This week the U.S. House of Representatives passed the "FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act of 2015 (pdf)," a FOIA reform bill.  Last year both Houses passed FOIA reform bills, but the federal bureaucracy monkey-wrenched reform efforts.

Reporter Ken Bogardus stated in E&E Daily (House approves FOIA reform bill, Jan. 12, 2016), "Though popular on Capitol Hill, FOIA reform often stalls out before becoming law after it runs into opposition from agency officials."

President Obama and Attorney General Holder made strong written commitments (pdf) to open government and in favor of disclosure of information under FOIA early in the current Administration, but numerous executive departments apparently are failing to respond to FOIA requests and/or improperly withholding government records.

There is no question that the government is routinely violating FOIA and that FOIA reform is a worthy idea, but it is an open question whether a policy window will open in 2016 for FOIA reform to occur.


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