Scott A. Hodes provides perspective, and an overall grade, to how the administration has done during the first half of its first term in regard to FOIA.
Scott A. Hodes notes that in the current Congress there are bills pending that would create a commission to come up with ideas for faster FOIA processing. He contends that by taking those ideas, along with a few days of congressional oversight hearings to solicit other opinions, Congress would have ample information to create an actual bill that would implement faster FOIA processing now rather than wait for a “commission” to come up with these same ideas.
Senators Patrick Leahy and John Cornyn have introduced a bill establishing a committee of citizens to make recommendations on improving FOIA performance. A similar version of this bill was introduced in 2005 and went nowhere fast, according to Scott A. Hodes.
Requesters who are new to using the FOIA statute often complain that they have filed a request within the last month but haven’t receive their documents yet. FOIA expert Scott A. Hodes explains that the congressional budgeting process does not specifically provide FOIA operations within an agency a set line item amount. Thus, FOIA Offices usually have limited resources from within their own agencies to fulfill requests.
Scott A. Hodes comments on the Obama administrations’ decision to continue to fight the release of detainee photos.
Scott A. Hodes highlights the areas of this new DOJ guidance that are of the most interest to the FOIA community.
Now that both the President and Attorney General have weighed in with FOIA Memorandum, Scott A. Hodes provides us with the procedural steps that will result within agencies, and the effect the memos will have on the nine FOIA exemptions.
Scott A. Hodes notes the Obama administration’s immediate focus on FOIA, but reminds us that changing the ship of government requires numerous steps and constant vigilance to ensure change remains consistent and constant.
Scott A. Hodes discusses two sections (Section 6 and 7) of the OPEN Government Act of 2007 that just went into effect, and the problems that will be encountered by requesters trying to use them to their advantage.
Scott A. Hodes comments on the limited availability of training in this critical area, and identifies providers in the private and public sectors.