NFOIC's blog

DHS needs to improve FOIA processing, cost reporting, congressional investigators say

November 21, 2014 5:19 PM

Although the Homeland Security Department pledged three years ago to steadily reduce backlogged Freedom of Information Act requests, the number has risen even higher, congressional investigators said.

DHS made some progress by the end of fiscal 2012 to reduce the backlog, but the numbers have risen to more than 50,000 in fiscal 2013, an increase of more than 9,000 since 2011, according to the Government Accountability Office report (pdf) released Nov. 19. Read more »



Robbins Geller FOIA Suit Puts Pressure On Wal-Mart

November 21, 2014 4:50 PM

Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP's bid for documents from the government's probe into alleged foreign bribery by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will likely be trumped by a powerful exemption to the Freedom of Information Act, but experts say the suit ramps up pressure on the retailer to be more transparent with shareholders.

The firm accused the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in a lawsuit of violating FOIA by withholding documents Wal-Mart gave the commission related to an alleged bribery scheme connected with the retailer's growth in Mexico. Read more »



Illinois House overrides veto of FOIA legislation

November 21, 2014 4:38 PM

The Illinois House has voted to override Gov. Pat Quinn's veto of legislation that allows governments to charge higher fees for large public records requests.

Legislators voted 77-36 on Wednesday to override the veto. It now goes to the Illinois Senate, where it will require a three-fifths vote to override. Read more »



ACLU Seeks Information About Airborne Cell Phone Snooping

November 21, 2014 11:22 AM

The ACLU is filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request today for information about a newly revealed Marshals Service program that uses aircraft to suck up location data from tens of thousands of people’s cell phones at a time. Read more »



Opinion: Senate should promote accountable government with FOIA bill

November 21, 2014 10:52 AM

A useful filter for evaluating a public policy idea is to ask whether the idea serves the interests of the public or serves the interests of government.

House Bill 4001 is a good example of a policy that serves the interests of the public while facing opposition from government agencies. Read more »



A Rare Glimpse of Bipartisanship on Open Government

November 21, 2014 10:47 AM

So this “lame duck” Congress may not be so lame after all – at least when it comes to increasing government transparency. Read more »



Editorial: A more open government

November 20, 2014 11:02 AM

In our continued fight for greater openness and transparency in government, we found the following items worthy of comment.

A public debate

Hampton Councilman Donnie Tuck deserves citizens' thanks for raising questions about the city's participation in a data-sharing program operated by area law enforcement. Read more »



OGIS director Miriam Nisbet to retire at end of November

November 20, 2014 10:59 AM

For much of her career in government service, Miriam Nisbet has been on the cutting edge of the intersection of digital technology and the Freedom of Information Act.

But more than 35 years after she began government service in 1978, Nisbet will leave her post as the government's top FOIA ombudsman at the end of November to take a break and pursue a career in the private sector. Read more »



Primary Sources: How a New FOIA Bill Could Force More Government Transparency

November 20, 2014 10:55 AM

The Senate Judiciary Committee released an amended version of a bill that would overhaul the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and force government agencies to be more transparent.

The legislation, which has bipartisan support and is backed by open government advocates, is co-sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and Senator John Cornyn, the ranking Republican on the committee. Read more »



Opinion: Illinois' Freedom of Information Act Must Remain Functional to Uncover Instances of Corruption

November 20, 2014 10:51 AM

Ever since Illinois rewrote and bolstered its Freedom of Information Act in 2010, government officials of all stripes have done their best to chip away at it. Such is the case with a bill vetoed this year by Gov. Pat Quinn.

As lawmakers gather in Springfield this week for the annual fall veto session, Better Government Association President Andy Shaw says this is one veto that should be left alone.

Shaw writes: Continue>>>
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