Transparency outsourced as U.S. hires vendors for FOIA request aid

From Bloomberg:

The next time you submit a Freedom of Information Act request to the U.S. government, it may end up in the hands of a company you’ve never heard of.

At least 25 federal agencies are outsourcing parts of the FOIA process. The contractors, sometimes using workers with security clearances, are building FOIA software, corresponding with requesters, redacting documents and recommending what information should be withheld.

Since fiscal 2009, the year President Barack Obama took office, spending on FOIA-related contracts has jumped about 40 percent, leaving transparency advocates wondering who’s making the decisions on whether records should be kept secret.