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The 411 on FOIA & the White House

Quick FOIA quiz: Is the White House subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)? Yes. And no. It depends on the function of a particular White House office. Offices within the Executive Office of the President that “wield … substantial authority independent of the President” are subject to FOIA, the Court of Appeals for […]

OGIS Director testifies, suggests improvements to FOIA

OGIS Director Miriam Nisbet joined other advocates of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on March 11, testifying before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary about OGIS’s work and two new suggestions the Office has for improving FOIA. OGIS proposes that FOIA be embedded into Federal Information Technology (IT) management across the government. “We suggest […]

Getting Ready for Sunshine Week

Sunshine Week is less than six weeks away! Agencies, what are you doing to prepare? Last year, Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero sent a message during Sunshine Week to National Archives’ staff reminding them that FOIA is everyone’s responsibility and responding to access requests doesn’t rest solely on the agency’s FOIA and archival […]

Providing Consent

  Repeat OGIS customers may wonder why we sometimes ask them to provide consent to discuss their requests with agencies and other times we don’t. We recently contacted a requester whose consent we had asked for a few weeks earlier and told her, in essence: just kidding, we really don’t need your consent. So why […]

Shutdown Didn’t Stop FOIA Clock

FOIA request processing came to a screeching halt during the 16-day government shutdown as the vast majority of FOIA professionals were furloughed as “non-excepted” employees. We don’t like the term “non-essential” since we consider FOIA essential, as Sen. Patrick Leahy noted October 5 on the Senate floor. “We … take for granted that our open […]