Why Is Access To Public Records Still So Frustratingly Complicated?

June 7, 2017 8:18 AM

Even with the Freedom of Information Act, requesting government records remains an arduous process—especially compared to the efficiency of the legal world.

Earlier this month, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz wrote to the Federal Bureau of Investigation demanding former FBI director James Comey’s notes of conversations with President Trump.

Congress has wide discretion to investigate what it chooses, including the right to issue subpoenas demanding access to potential evidence. But Chaffetz isn’t the only one interested in reading Comey’s notes, which reports have indicated document the president attempting to influence the FBI’s investigation into Russian election interference. The American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Privacy Information Center have both filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act for the documents.

“While we hope that Congress will be serious about its constitutional oversight role, we believe the issues raised by the Comey memos are so vital that the public should have access to them without delay,” wrote Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security Project, in a blog post. Read more...