A Closer Look at the Freedom of Information Act
Series: Laws and Legislation
FOIA requires federal agencies to provide the public with access to government records and information based on the principles of openness and accountability in government. The objective of chapter 1 was to determine the extent to which agencies have implemented selected FOIA requirements; describe the methods established by agencies to reduce backlogged requests and the effectiveness of those methods; and identify any statutory exemptions that have been used by agencies as the basis for withholding (redacting) information from requesters.
Chapter 2 provides information regarding federal court decisions that pertain to the improper withholding of FOIA records. The chapter discusses how many court decisions citing the improper withholding of FOIA records have resulted in disciplinary actions against responsible agency personnel.
Chapter 3 reviews DOL’s FOIA processing including how the department and its components manage and process FOIA requests, how they prioritize requests, and the extent that responses to requests have been timely; and how many lawsuits DOL has been subjected to arising from FOIA requests, and the results of those lawsuits. Chapter 4 determines FOIA litigation-related costs incurred by federal agencies for lawsuits in which the plaintiffs substantially prevailed.
Congress is currently considering legislation that would make substantive changes to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Chapter 5 provides a side-by-side comparison of the bills, using the versions that have passed each of their originating congressional chambers.