Lawsuit claims White House hindering FOIA requests

A conservative legal group on Monday plans to file a lawsuit alleging that the White House’s tight control over document requests has led to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) violations by 12 federal agencies.

Cause of Action said the agencies have not handed over documents that the organization asked for up to 14 months ago and that the requests appear to be under White House review, according to a copy of the complaint obtained by The Washington Post. The group plans to file its lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

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Op-Ed: Delay and deny: Obama’s two-face on Freedom of Information

Upon entering office in January of 2009, President Obama promised us an era of openness and transparency in the federal government.

He set a policy in place mandating that federal records be released when requested by the public, on the premise that "sun-light is said to be the best of disinfectants." He instructed the executive departments and agencies to operate with a presumption towards disclosure when handling Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. On this point he stated as follows:

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Hybrid records management can enable open government

In his first day in office, President Obama signed the memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, calling for a new era of open and accountable government.

“My administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in government.” — President Obama, Jan. 21, 2009

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Award-winning investigative reporter calls Obama Administration ‘Worst Atmosphere’ for Journalists

On last night’s C-SPAN Q&A interview series, Sharyl Attkisson said the Obama administration has created “the worst atmosphere” journalists have ever faced, and called the Freedom of Information Act “a joke.”

Attkisson is an award-winning investigative reporter who earlier this year made headlines for resigning from CBS News after a 20-year career at the TV network. Earlier this month, she became a senior independent contributor to The Daily Signal.

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Our government is always hiding something: Column

The Obama administration has used the Freedom of Information Act to increase rather than decrease government secrecy. In 2013, it increased use of exemptions to bar release of requested files by 22% over the previous year, according an analysis by the Associated Press. The government fully denied or redacted large portions of files in 36% of the 704,394 requests submitted

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White House Recruits Tech Entrepreneurs

Uncle Sam wants a few good innovators — again. The White House has launched the third round of its Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) program, which pairs tech-savvy entrepreneurs from the private sector with top government officials to tackle selected challenges facing the administration.

The program's "lean startup" approach has delivered a variety of tools, including ones that help the public save on utility bills and improve access to government health information, and it has brought acclaim to participants.

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