WV: ACLU sends FOIA to investigate Elkins Police ‘cockroach memo’

The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia filed the first of a series of Freedom Of Information Act requests Wednesday with the Elkins Police Department to investigate the former police chief's controversial memo. The memo referred to residents as "cockroaches" and read " I want them harassed if you know they are a cockroach!"

More

State Dept. slow to hire open records staffers despite flood of requests

The State Department has faced a deluge of open records requests and lawsuits in recent months, many of them stemming from former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server throughout her tenure at the department.

This year, the State Department has been authorized to hire 25 new full-time staffers to work on processing requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

But only one has been hired, Obama administration lawyers disclosed in their filing this week.

More

Sources: Obama transparency official stepping down

An official tasked with improving the operation of the Freedom of Information Act across the Obama Administration is resigning after less than a year on the job, several sources briefed on the move told Politico.

James Holzer took over last August as director of the Office of Government Information Services, which serves as an ombudsman between federal agencies and FOIA requesters. The office also conducts audits of agencies' FOIA operations and proposes ways to streamline those processes.

More

Congress requests GAO investigation into federal FOIA shortcomings

On April 28, the leaders of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary sent Gene L. Dodaro, the U.S. comptroller general, a letter requesting the General Accountability Office (GAO) conduct a comprehensive review of the federal government's compliance with the Freedom of Information Act.

More

FOIA ‘still interested letters’ have uncertain effect on requesters, report finds

Sending a so-called "still interested letter" to someone who requested responses under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act has an uncertain effect, an analysis found.

It's tough to measure these letters' effect on requesters, found part one of a study by the Compliance Team at the Office of Government Information Services, or OGIS, on the use of such letters by the 15 Cabinet-level agencies between fiscal years 1998 and 2014, according to an April 27 blog post by the National Archives' FOIA ombudsman.

More

Best practices for agency Freedom of Information Act regulations

From Center for Effective Government: Of the 100 agencies in the federal government subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), dozens of agencies have not yet updated their FOIA regulations to reflect requirements in the OPEN Government Act of 2007. The OPEN Government Act required federal agencies to better assist people who make requests for public information under FOIA – for instance, by providing individualized tracking numbers in order to check the status of a request….

More

ACLU and Center for Popular Democracy file FOIA lawsuit over efforts to limit municipalities’ foreclosure prevention options

Press release from ACLU: SAN FRANCISCO – The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Popular Democracy today filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to compel the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to provide details about the agency's relationship with the financial industry and its efforts to block municipalities from using eminent domain to prevent foreclosures.

More