Federal agencies must come up with a significant new project to include in updates to their open government plans due June 1. In a Feb. 24 memo (.pdf), Todd Park, the federal chief technology officer, called on agencies to "introduce bold, ambitious new open government initiatives," relating to either transparency, participation or collaboration.
The Navy accidentally leaked a memo (.pdf) to Scott MacFarlane, a reporter at an NBC news affiliate, which details how the office planned to evade his recent FOIA request for information on the September 2013 Navy Yard shooting. The Navy has since launched an internal investigation and is considering disciplinary action for employees in its Freedom of Information Act office, according to NBC 4 in Washington, D.C.
The Defense Department is now required to post all reports to Congress on a "publicly accessible Internet website," whether they're requested or not.
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."