At its September 15, 2016, meeting, the Chief FOIA Officers Council will continue discussing the implementation of a “release to one, release to all” Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) policy, which calls for agencies to post copies of all records released under FOIA on their websites.
The Department of Justice’s Office of Information Policy (OIP) recently released the results of a pilot program designed to weigh the costs and benefits of a “release to one, release to all” policy. The White House fact sheet announcing the President’s signature of the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, which established of the Chief FOIA Officers Council, among other FOIA improvements, noted that the White House was tasking the Council with evaluating the lessons learned during the pilot and promoting the adoption of the policy government-wide.
During its initial meeting on July 22, 2016, the Chief FOIA Officers Council discussed several possible challenges agencies face in adopting the policy, including the need to make all records posted compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act , which requires Federal agencies to make their records accessible to people with disabilities. At its second meeting, the Council will discuss concerns about the policy raised by investigative journalists. OIP’s report explains that some journalists have expressed concern that providing all released records to their competitors might create a disincentive for journalists to use FOIA.
The public is welcome to attend the meeting, and there will be time for the public to address comments to the Council. For additional information about the meeting, keep an eye on OIP’s homepage. You can RSVP to attend the meeting by emailing DOJ.OIP.FOIA@usdoj.gov with the subject line “CFO Council Meeting – Public” by September 7, 2016.