Freedom of Information Act processing at many agencies has been delayed because the majority of FOIA professionals were furloughed as non-excepted employees during the government's 16-day shutdown. Unfortunately, the FOIA statute does not address government shutdowns, writes Kristen Mitchell, a facilitator at the National Archives and Records Administration's office of government information services, in an Oct. 24 blog post.
Federal spending data systems have improved in recent years but still come up short in their efforts to fully inform the public on government spending, says a June 6 brief from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Thousands of federal employees won't have their financial disclosure forms publicized online after all. President Obama signed into law April 15 modifications to the Stop Trading on Congressional...
Among law professors, "it's long been thought that the process of notice and comment is basically kabuki theater," said Cass Sunstein, himself a law professor for decades before heading up OIRA and who has since returned to academia. "That administrative-law sophisticated wisdom, it couldn't be further from the truth," he said at a Brookings Institution event.
In 2012, agencies processed more than half a million FOIA requests, but they only released information with no redactions in 41 percent of requests, according to the report, released March 13. It drew on data from 25 major federal agencies, including most cabinet-level departments.
Freedom of Information Act fees and fee waivers are a persistent problem for agency FOIA offices and for requesters, according to Miriam Nisbet, director of the Office of Government Information Services at the National Archives and Records Administration. Immigration records will be another area of attention for OGIS going forward, said Nisbet.
The Office of Management and Budget issued guidance last week clarifying how agencies can comply with a new rule prohibiting office and warehouse expansions--known as "Freeze the Footprint."
Government scientists have gained more whistleblower protection and freedom to express personal opinions under the Obama administration, but most agencies still do not give scientists access to drafts and final revisions in which their work played a part, a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found.
"Ultimately, the administration will be judged on the transparency it delivered, not the transparency it envisioned or promised--and there is widespread agreement that the delivery has lagged," write report authors from the Center for Effective Government.
The records of interactions between the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and special-interest groups are suspiciously sparse, the Center for Effective Government said Feb. 26. The advocacy group analyzed OIRA records for three agencies and found what it said is an implausibly small number of written comments and records of phone conversations.