Interested in making a FOIA request for government records, but don’t know where to start? If so, we’ve got the resource for you! The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform just released a report titled The Citizen’s Guide to Using the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act of 1974 to Request Records (Citizen’s Guide). This extremely useful document details the kinds of records available through FOIA, how to make a request, and agency response requirements. The Citizen’s Guide is useful for anyone—no previous FOIA experience required.
The Committee designed the Citizen’s Guide with FOIA first-timers in mind. “The American people have a right to know about their Government,” said Committee Chairman Darrell Issa. “And FOIA is one of the most important tools for government accountability, yet many people are unaware of how to request information and of their full rights under these laws. With that in mind, it is our hope that this guide will help more people avail themselves of that right to know.”
Though the Citizen’s Guide was first published in 1977, it has not been updated since OGIS opened in 2009. This is the first guide to include information about how FOIA requesters can use OGIS’s services. We are excited to be included in this important resource.