Court case could exacerbate FOIA delays

From OMB Watch:

A recent court decision may make it more difficult and more time-consuming for people to receive materials from federal agencies when filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. It would allow agencies to delay FOIA requests more easily, which could hamstring those who rely on the law, including the open government community, journalists, and other advocacy groups. OMB Watch today joined an amicus brief urging the court to reverse the ruling.

Here's how FOIA is supposed to work: once an agency receives a request, it has 20 working days to decide whether it will grant the request and turn over the information. If the agency will not grant the request, it must explain why and notify the requester of his or her right to appeal the decision. If the requester does not receive a decision within 20 working days, he or she may file suit against the agency. These deadlines and procedures are important to create accountability in processing FOIA requests.