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Thursday, March 13, 2014

48 Years after Creation of Freedom of Information Act, State Dept., Defense Dept. and VA Get Failing Grades

What's your congressman done to rectify this non-compliance horror? Maybe he/she serves on a congressional Oversight committee. We believe the level of disregard and non-compliance is far worse than the article by Noel Brinkerhoff  has reported:

Mich. State Univ. FOIA Response
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has been an important tool since 1966 for citizens and the media to learn what goes on inside the executive branch of government. But many cabinet-level departments have done a very poor job of facilitating or responding to FOIA requests, according to one government watchdog group.

The Center for Effective Government used three criteria in judging how well federal offices handle public inquiries under the law. They involved the processing of requests, the creation of rules that explain why some information isn’t released, and the development of user-friendly websites specific to FOIA requests.

Among the 15 federal agencies reviewed using the criteria, not a single one received an A grade.

The highest score was a B, which went to the Social Security Administration for exceptional processing of FOIA requests. But it got low marks for its rules and website.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) came in second with a B- for good rules and website, but poor performance for actually releasing information.

That was it for the B’s.

There were only two C’s: the Environmental Protection Agency got a C+ (strong rules and website, so-so job of processing requests) and the Department of Agriculture received a “C” (mediocre job across the board).

Then there were the flunkies.

The State Department had the distinction of earning the lowest overall score of any agency (37%).

-Noel Brinkerhoff
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