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Archive for September, 2011

Twenty days … or not

When Elvis sang “Twenty Days and Twenty Nights” he didn’t have FOIA in mind. But the title refrain is sure to spark many in the FOIA community to think about the statutory requirement that agencies respond to requests within 20 business days (5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)). It’s a topic that has many OGIS requester customers […]

Regarding Rulemaking

When Congress created OGIS in 2007, it did so by adding 104 words to the Freedom of Information Act. What Congress didn’t do was dictate how OGIS would provide mediation services or review agency FOIA policies, procedures and compliance or recommend policy changes to Congress and the President to improve FOIA. That’s typically left for […]

Happy (Belated) Birthday OGIS!

We here at OGIS were so busy earlier in September that we missed a big one: OGIS’s second birthday. That’s saying something for a team that includes some talented bakers and chocolate aficionados. Two years ago, OGIS Director Miriam Nisbet walked into an empty office with a big congressional mandate: offer mediation services to resolve […]

The Intersection of FOIA Street and Privacy Act Lane

Both the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act contain provisions that grant a right of access to Federal records. FOIA applies to records of executive branch agencies on potentially any subject. The Privacy Act applies only to agencies’ records which contain information about individuals that are maintained in a “system of records,” meaning those […]

Avoiding Common FOIA Pitfalls

OGIS’s outreach is on a roll! This week OGIS staff presented twice to audiences of FOIA requesters as part of the National Archives’ “Know Your Records” series. This was a great opportunity to hear from those in the field – most of whom are not sophisticated FOIA requesters — about their FOIA concerns. While this […]