DCOGC Press Release: Reporters Say They Can Live With Federal Plan to Post All Records Released Under FOIA – With Delay

Results reported August 30 showed a large majority of reporters answering a survey by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and who use the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in their work support plans due in the new year that will require federal agencies to post online all records released.

Of the 107 responding, 83 per cent supported the idea, though 58 per cent did so only on condition that general release was delayed as much as a month to protect against competitors scooping the original requester.


D.C. Rental Housing Commission providing better public information; DCOGC inquiry gets results

The D.C. Rental Housing Commission, a three-member body that sets rent ceilings, writes necessary regulations and hears appeals of decisions on rent complaints, in recent weeks has begun operating in greater sunshine.

The commission, independent in its work but administered within the Department of Housing and Community Development, for years published little online information about its activity, including when its meetings would be held, minutes afterwards, or details of hearings.


D.C. Open Government Office: Housing Authority must stop secret meetings

The D.C. Housing Authority commissioners have for many months met in secret before their regular meetings, without announcement or records, to discuss a range of topics required by law to be heard in open session.

These findings came to light in an opinion letter issued this week by the District transparency watchdog, Office of Open Government.


Former D.C. AG scores weak transparency, accountability in D.C. prosecutions, calls on Congress for reform

In a sharp attack on a longstanding limit of the home rule powers of the District of Columbia, former D.C. Attorney General Irving Nathan has called for local prosecution of serious crimes.

The 1973 law allowing some local autonomy for the District also kept some matters out of the hands of the new elected legislature, including changing anything about the longstanding prosecution duties of the U.S. Attorney here.


DC open government office for first time raps an agency for evading mandatory no-fee, no-request publication law

Calling the agency “woefully out of compliance” with the District’s Freedom of Information Act, the DC Office of Open Government issued an opinion Friday finding the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) failed to post records of building permits required to be available free online. Instead, according to the opinion, the agency disobeyed the law two ways, first by requiring an ANC Commissioner asking for a copy of a permit file to submit a FOIA request, then sending it to be processed by a private copy service that could charge its own fees.


DC Delegate to propose end to secrecy of DC judges’ financial disclosure forms

In a surprise announcement, DC Delegate Eleanor Homes Norton said this week she plans to introduce legislation that would open for the first time in years the financial disclosure forms completed by D.C. judges.

Her legislative proposal will ask Congress to change requirements now in federal law that require the information on lengthy forms but also keep the details closely held.


These DC Councilmembers are trying to change FOIA

DC Councilmembers David Grosso and Mary M. Cheh introduced a new bill to make significant changes to DC’s open government practices. Namely, the proposed piece of legislation makes tweaks to the District’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Open Meetings Act and Open Government Office Act.

The bill is a veritable laundry list of changes to the legislation above — ranging from “clarifying” various procedures and exemptions to “creating” others.