Administration Refused More Than a Third of FOIA Requests Last Year
Via CNSNews.com: Two years into its pledge to improve government transparency, the Obama administration handled fewer requests for federal records from citizens, journalists, companies and others last year even as significantly more people asked for information. The administration disclosed at least some of what people wanted at about the same rate as the previous year.
People requested information 544,360 times last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) from the 35 largest agencies, up nearly 41,000 more than the previous year, according to an analysis by The Associated Press of new federal data. But the government took action on nearly 12,400 fewer requests.
From the White House website: My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government. Government should be transparent. Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing. My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use. Executive departments and agencies should harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public feedback to identify information of greatest use to the public.
The Obama administration even censored 194 pages of internal e-mails about its Open Government Directive that the AP requested more than one year ago. The State Department received and handled three times as many requests in 2010 than the previous year. It ended up with a backlog of more than 20,500 overdue cases, more than twice as many as the previous year.
Overall, the decidedly mixed performance shows the federal government struggling to match the promises Obama made early in his term to improve transparency and disclose more information rapidly. So much for that hope and change! Even the majority of comments on HuffPo are critical of Obama for this. Elections have consequences.
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