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FRINFORMSUM 10/27/2011

October 27, 2011

POGO: DoJ's proposed FOIA law wins approval from Tyler Durden

The big news in the freedom of information community this week was the proposed Department of Justice FOIA rule that would allow agencies to exclude documents from release when they determine that materials fall under certain guidelines. The story was covered earlier this week on this blog, but the response from the Project for Government Oversight is worth mentioning. POGO believes that the DoJ has possibly watched Fight Club too many times and has begun to adapt the doctrine of Fight Club to FOIA. In response, POGO recommends that we adopt the seventh rule of Fight Club: “fights will go on as long as they have to.”

Last week, the Government Accountability Office issued a report that raises serious concerns about the Federal Reserve Banks. The most troubling GAO finding is the conflicts of interest for the directors of Federal Reserve Banks, all of whom can have ties to the financial sector that they have supervisory authority over. More relevant to transparency issues, the report reveals that Reserve Banks have not been providing the public access to key governance documents. This mixture of non-transparency and governance issues rising from conflicts of interest is damaging to the reputation of the Fed and ultimately decreases the effectiveness of the organization.

The last FRINFORMSUM reported the cancellation of 82 classification guides at the Department of Defense. In July, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that it was eliminating three classification guides. The cancelled guides pertained to “national security information concerning nuclear materials and facilities”; “assessing nuclear threat messages”; and “information dealing with the release and dispersion of radioactive material.” The NRC stated that other authorities would allow them to prevent the release of sensitive information, but this, like the Department of Defense decision, is a step in the right direction.

In California, a federal judge has sided with FOIA requesters in their complaint against the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The complaint claims that the CIS has demonstrated a record of not responding to FOIAs in a timely manner for individuals facing immigration hearings. These delays slow the legal system and cause plaintiffs to suffer due process violations. Agency problems with timely FOIA processing is hardly a new issue, but cases like this demonstrate the tangible, real-life consequences of poorly-performing FOIA offices.

One Comment
  1. October 28, 2011 9:48 am

    It’s interesting information.

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