Modernizing FOIA

FOIA could use a tune-up. Will you help?

FOIA could use a tune-up. Will you help?

The U.S. National Action Plan for the global Open Government Partnership is big news for FOIA. We’ve written about the plan’s five-part commitment for strengthening and modernizing the Freedom of Information Act.

One of the five components of the FOIA commitment calls for a new FOIA advisory committee:

Establish a FOIA Modernization Advisory Committee. Improvements to FOIA administration must take into account the views and interests of both requesters and the Government. The United States will establish a formal FOIA Advisory Committee, comprised of government and non-governmental members of the FOIA community, to foster dialogue between the Administration and the requester community, solicit public comments, and develop consensus recommendations for improving FOIA administration and proactive disclosures. 

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will be the home for this new Federal Advisory Committee, which will be administered by OGIS. NARA is working with the General Services Administration (the lead agency for the Federal Advisory Committee Act) to get the committee up and running quickly. We expect that there will be 20 members, half of them from government agencies and half from the FOIA requester community. The committee aims to meet in Washington four times a year for at least the next two years.

We are looking for people who are passionate about FOIA and are willing to devote time and energy to this effort. If you are interested in putting forward your name (or someone else’s), please let us know as soon as you can. We hope that you will consider getting involved in this effort to improve FOIA!

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7 Responses to Modernizing FOIA

  1. Margie Burns says:

    As a journalist with an academic background, I have used FOIA many times. I am interested in joining the board. Phone […}

  2. Luis G says:

    From NYC and would love to help. thank you!

  3. Jeremy Bigwood says:

    I am interested in this and would fall into the “passionate about the FOIA” category. However, I do have numerous FOIA and MDR requests filed with NARA. I don’t know if this would be a conflict of interest.

  4. Kirsten Mitchell says:

    Jeremy, Luis and Margie, thanks for your interest. Please email ogis@nara.gov when you get a chance so that we can make sure you get on the list to hear more about this.

  5. Geoff Davidian says:

    I have passion, time, energy and experience to contribute.

  6. Brady Eames says:

    Dear NARA/OGIS, Will this proposed FAC committee address and make recommendations with respect to 5 USC 552(a)(1)? Thank you, Brady Eames

  7. Brady Eames says:

    Dear agents of the United States, Referring to United States Code, the “second open Government National Action Plan” and to the Federal Register (FR), I find no statutory, regulatory or Presidential authority that serves notice to the public that OGIS shall administer the FOIA Modernization Federal Advisory Committee (Committee). The notice of the creation of the Committee published by the NARA in 79 FR 25626 does not even mention the OGIS. However, the OGIS is described as the administrator of the Committee on an online “FOIA Ombudsman” blog page at http://blogs.archives.gov/foiablog/2014/01/29/modernizing-foia/. Must the public now assume that online blog pages are now the source of official guidance with respect to what the OGIS administers under 5 USC 552(h)? Under the same law, shall the public expect the OGIS to review the countless FOIA policies and procedures which have been promulgated by the DOJ’s OIP, but never ever published in the FR, during the last six (6) years under President Obama’s FOIA Memorandum of January 21, 2009 and recommend changes to him and the Congress with respect to such policies and procedures? Also, will the disrespect and subversion of 5 USC 552(a)(1) by the Executive Branch under the Paper Reduction Act of 1995 and E-Government Act of 2002 be addressed by the Committee? Sincerely, Brady Eames P.S. Any chance a member of the Administrative Committee of the FR will be a member of the Committee?

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