Ed. Note: Records show that agencies have indeed made disclosure through FOIA a priority this past year. Learn more about the Justice Department's latest annual reports.
Sunshine Week is a welcome opportunity to size up the federal government’s progress in implementing the President and the Attorney General’s directives on openness and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). I’m glad to report that Agencies have made a lot of progress over the past year.
Many agencies — including the Departments of Commerce, Defense, and Health and Human Services, among many others — have taken concrete steps to improve their administration of FOIA.
Their efforts are collected at a new website dedicated to the Act, FOIA.gov. Launched on the first day of Sunshine Week by the Justice Department’s Office of Information Policy (OIP), FOIA.gov provides detailed information about agencies’ FOIA activities, including important steps agencies around the government have taken to improve their FOIA architecture. FOIA.gov also provides ordinary citizens with basic information about FOIA and instructions about how to make a FOIA request. FOIA.gov is itself a testimony to the Administration’s commitment to FOIA.
And because greater disclosure of information through FOIA requires investment over the long term, the Administration is announcing additional steps during Sunshine Week to promote FOIA’s implementation further, including:
During upcoming weeks, agencies will proactively post on their Open Government web pages agency directories, so that citizens can more easily identify agency offices to meet their needs. In additional, agencies will also post official congressional testimony and agency reports to Congress required by statute, so that the public has better access to communications between agencies and the legislative branch. And over the next year, following the President’s Memorandum of January 18, 2011, agencies will proactively provide information about their regulatory compliance and enforcement activities, so that the public can hold both regulated parties and agencies themselves more accountable.
In these ways and more, agencies will continue to continue to provide still greater information through FOIA, wherever the law and sound policy allow.