Monday, October 04, 2010

FOIA Failures Continue in Obama Administration

From The Daily Caller: (ht FOIABlog):
To find out if other groups — including news outlets, commercial interests, individuals, and other nonprofits — were experiencing the same problems with their FOIA requests, CREW created a survey, which was distributed by the American Society of Access Professionals on the group’s private list-serve. Because CREW did not have access to the list-serve, and thus cannot quantify the list’s demographics, the organization wrote in its report that the results are “not scientific or statistically valid, [but] are definitive on at least some topics.”
Here are some of CREW’s more notable findings:
- “Two of the touted reforms – creation of agency chief FOIA officers (CFOs) and agency FOIA public liaisons – have had virtually no influence on the work of agency FOIA professionals,” the report says. According to the survey results, more than 60% of respondents said that the CFO position had no effect on their job, did not make processing requests clearer, and did not make their overall jobs easier. Comments on the position included, “Chief FOIA Officer? Seriously, there is no position description for FOIA, it’s everybody do everything,” and “Did not know this position existed.”
- Roughly 63% of respondents said the fact that FOIA is “not an administration priority,” was a problem.
- While “the vast majority of respondents are aware of Attorney General Holder’s FOIA guidelines,” which President Obama and the DOJ announced in 2009, “the majority reported no change at their agencies as a result of those guidelines.”