Current issues and updates
And on Thursday, March 17, 2011, former Washington Post reporter Sarah Cohen, now a scholar at Duke University, represented the news media in a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The hearing, convened by Chairman Patrick Leahy, highlighted the flaws in FOIA and frustrations that senators as well as requesters have with the system.
"The federal government should post in a searchable location online all [FOIA] requests, responses, and milestones so requesters can track the progress of their requests online and in aggregate identify the bottlenecks in the process," SGI coordinator Rick Blum testified (pdf) before members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at a hearing held during Sunshine Week to assess the state of FOIA.2011-04-15
SGI applauds the Senate for advancing FOIA reforms again and encourages the Congress to act again to make FOIA work better.
Last week SGI sent a letter encouraging congressional leaders to restore the text of the Faster FOIA Act to a bill used to address the unrelated debt limit crisis by the House of Representatives. When the House failed to include the language creating a FOIA study commission and defeated the bill, the Senate quickly passed the Faster FOIA Act for a second time this Congress. 2011-08-02
Pulitzer Winner Sarah Cohen to testify before Congress on FOIA
Pulitzer Prize-winning former Washington Post reporter Sarah Cohen will testify before a House panel for the Sunshine in Government Initiative on the Freedom of Information Act. The hearing on the state of FOIA is scheduled for Thursday, March 18th, 2010 at 2:00pm in Room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC, and available via webcast at the committee website. 2010-03-17
September 30, 2009 -- In spite of strong statements from the White House supporting open government, "the secrecy reflex at some agencies remains firmly in place," the leader of The Associated Press said in prepared remarks to a Senate panel examining the state of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on Wednesday.
Update (10/1/09): Read witness statements and view the hearing via webcast here.
Related (10/2/09): RCFP: Report criticizes SEC's compliance with FOIA2009-09-30
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on "Advancing Freedom of Information in the New Era of Responsibility" on Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 10:00am. Testifying for the Sunshine in Government Initiative will be Tom Curley, President and CEO of The Associated Press.
This hearing will be the first update on the early plans and progress of the Office of Government Information Services. Miriam Nisbet recently started as director of the new office and is expected to testify.
Other witnesses include frequent FOIA witness Meredith Fuchs, general counsel of the National Security Archive, and Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli.2009-09-25