Progress in Federal FOIA requests, but room for improvement

From “Agencies opening up slowly under FOIA mandate” by Jason Miller on

“The Small Business Administration and the IRS used inter-office communication. The Interior Department and the Institute of Museum and Library Service created specific task forces. And the Commerce Department requires a senior official to sign-off on the release of documents.

“These are just three examples of how agencies went about meeting the White House’s mandate to be more open and transparent when it comes to releasing documents and meeting Freedom of Information Act requests.

“The Justice Department released the 2010 governmentwide FOIA report detailing these and many other steps agencies took over the last year.

“‘There is a tremendous amount of focus being put on FOIA and compliance from the President and the Attorney General on down,’ says Melanie Pustay, Justice’s Director of the Office of Information Policy, which released the report. ‘I think focus on issue leading to concrete results.’

“Pustay says a number of findings stand out to her.

“First, she says, the fact that the number of partial requested records released increased by 50,000 over 2008 to 170,000.

“Overall, however, the number of full releases dropped by 45,000 last year to 215,124.”

Jason Miller joined me in studio to talk about his conversation with Melanie Pustay of the Justice Department. You can hear his entire conversation with her – and mine with Jason – by clicking the audio links.

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