By MATTHEW DALY Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Advocates for greater openness in government were frustrated after Congress failed to update the Freedom of Information Act despite bipartisan support in the House and Senate. Without…
Information has commercial value, and contractors doing business with the government need to consider how they communicate information so its proprietary status remains intact. Contracting veteran Tim Sullivan has authored the blog “10 Myths of Government Contracting.” On the Federal Drive with Tom Temin, Sullivan tackled myth number 7: Contractors’ business information is safe with the government. Sullivan explained why that’s a perilous position for contractors to take.
There are a myriad of ways that doing business with the federal government differs from the commercial sector, and protection of a company’s sensitive business information is one of them, says contracting expert Tim Sullivan in a new commentary.
An amendment to the Freedom of Information Act appeared to sail through the Senate. The goal is to hold agencies more accountable for disclosing records and create a more uniform system for the public to file FOIA requests. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill unanimously. Sean Vitka, federal policy manager at the Sunlight Foundation, joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive with analysis of what the bill would do.
Senate committee lawmakers voted to send a manager’s amendment to the Freedom of Information Act Improvement Act to the full body for consideration. The bill would require agencies to release documents more proactively.
A government transparency group has sued 10 departments for withholding documents it requested under the Freedom of Information Request Act. Cause of Action also sued the Office of Management and Budget and the IRS on the same grounds. Executive Director Dan Epstein joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive to discuss the whys and wherefores of the lawsuits.
The year 2012 saw more Freedom of Information Act requests than any time in the law’s history. The Administrative Conference of the United States says about 650,000 requests came in and it cost the federal government at least $23 million in litigation costs, and it considers that cost a conservative estimate. Gavin Baker is an open government analyst at the Center for Effective Government. He wrote about the recommendations in the center’s blog, The Fine Print, and shared them on In Depth with Jared Serbu.
Ginger McCall, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, says agencies need better FOIA regulations and a cultural change toward transparency.
Congress is considering a bill to streamline the way agencies respond to the Freedom of Information Act requests. As things stand now, 99 agencies each respond to FOIA requests differently. With the Justice Department leading interagency talks, a plan is underway to fix the inconsistencies FOIA requesters face when dealing with multiple agencies. Advocacy groups like the Electronic Privacy Information Center have their own sets of recommendations. Ginger McCall, associate director of EPIC, joined Tom Temin and Emily Kopp on the Federal Drive to discuss problems with the administration’s recommendations. Read Federal News Radio’s related article.
Why can’t the government do a better job at Freedom of Information Act requests?