Last week our Attorney Advisor, Sheela Portonovo, attended the 2018 Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) Conference to share best practices for successfully navigating the FOIA process. Below is a brief summary of the major issues with the FOIA process we regularly hear about from reporters (and others), and some of the tips she shared. Issue … Continue reading OGIS Shares FOIA Tips at IRE Conference
Last week our mediation team facilitator, Christa Lemelin, gave a five minute lightning talk at the Department of Commerce Sunshine Week celebration about common mistakes agencies make that could increase the likelihood of a FOIA requester filing a lawsuit against the agency. Here is a brief summary of the three mistakes she shared with the … Continue reading Tips for Avoiding FOIA Lawsuits
The Department of Justice Office of Information Policy (OIP) recently issued updated guidance for agency FOIA webpages. The guidance provides helpful recommendations for agencies to ensure that requesters can find useful resources and information. OIP’s guidance suggests that agencies ensure that members of the public can easily locate agency FOIA webpages by including a clear … Continue reading DOJ Releases FOIA Website Guidance 2.0
On October 19, 2017 the FOIA Advisory Committee worked its way through a jam-packed agenda, including discussion of draft recommendations from each of the three subcommittees – Searches; Efficiency and Resources; and Proactive Disclosure. As the Archivist of the United States noted in his welcoming remarks, a uniting theme for all three subcommittees is the … Continue reading Catch Up with the 2016-2018 FOIA Advisory Committee!
Those who follow the news on FOIA are likely already aware of last week’s Chief FOIA Officers Council meeting hosted by NARA in McGowan Theater. The meeting included a panel discussion of ways that agencies, OGIS and FOIA requesters can better work together. What follows are a few observations from the presentations from my fellow … Continue reading Reflections on the July 27 Chief FOIA Officer Council Meeting
OGIS and the Office of Information Policy (OIP) at the Department of Justice are happy to announce that the next meeting of the Chief FOIA Officers Council will be held on Thursday, July 27th from 10 am to noon. You can register to join the audience in the William G. McGowan Theater beginning on July … Continue reading Chief FOIA Officers Council Meeting Scheduled for July 27
As you might have heard, the Federal government received a record-breaking number of FOIA requests in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 – 788,769 requests. Did you know, though, that one of the more than 100 Federal agencies and departments that process FOIA requests accounts for almost 40 percent of that total? In FY 2016, the Department … Continue reading DHS Provides New Insight into FOIA Processing
Because we help resolve disputes between agencies and FOIA requesters, we see a broad sample of the kinds of requests that members of the public file with agencies. Seeing this range of requests also gives us a pretty good idea of what strategies seem to work well, and what seem to cause unintended problems. One … Continue reading Keep It Simple and Specific
Note: This entry is another in our series of occasional blog posts updating our efforts to implement new provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) signed into law by President Obama on June 30, 2016. Regular readers of the Federal Register may have noticed a recent spike in notices related to amendments of agency … Continue reading FOIA Improvement: Improving Agency FOIA Regulations
The FOIA process can be confusing for requesters, especially those who are filing their first FOIA requests or who do not know much about how a particular agency functions. Unfortunately, figuring out who you should contact within an agency to clear up that confusion and assist with a request can be equally baffling. FOIA Requester … Continue reading Who Ya Gonna Call?