We often think of agency Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests as a tool for journalists and those with commercial interests in government records, but in reality, those seeking records about themselves vastly outnumber commercial requesters at some agencies. The FOIA Advisory Committee will explore the issue of how requests from individuals seeking records about themselves dominate some FOIA programs at its next meeting on June 6, 2019, in the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives in Washington, DC. The meeting is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Professor Margaret B. Kwoka of the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver will present her research, published in June 2018 in the Yale Law Journal, on “First-Person FOIA.” Also on the agenda are updates from the Committee’s three subcommittees— Records Management, Time/Volume, and Vision—and an update on the status of past recommendations from the two previous terms of the FOIA Advisory Committee. A public comment period concludes the meeting.
The meeting is the fourth of the 2018-2020 term of the FOIA Advisory Committee, which is tasked with studying FOIA across the government, soliciting public comments, and recommending improvements to the Archivist of the United States.
Professor Kwoka was a member of the 2016-2018 term of the FOIA Advisory Committee and presented to the 2014-2016 term on her research, “FOIA, Inc.,” published in the Duke Law Journal in 2016. That research documented how corporations use FOIA to make profits and potentially crowd out journalists and other government watchdogs from the FOIA process.
If you are interested in attending the June 6, 2019, meeting, please register online. You will go through security screening when you enter the building.
We hope to see you there. For those outside the DC area, the meeting will be live-streamed on the National Archives YouTube channel.
This is the third two-year term of the Committee, established by the National Archives in 2013 under the Open Government National Action Plan 2.0. The Committee’s members, all experts in FOIA who were appointed by the Archivist of the United States, come from both inside and outside the government. Learn more about some of its members: Ginger McCall, Patricia Weth, and Michael Morisy. OGIS Director Alina M. Semo chairs the Committee and National Archives staff manages its work.