Ensuring Agency Compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Hearing Date: June 3, 2015 9:00 am Rayburn HOB

HEARING PURPOSE:

  • This hearing will examine the processes agencies use to meet FOIA’s legal requirements and explore barriers to effective and efficient compliance from the FOIA officer’s perspective.
  • The Committee will hear from the witnesses tasked with implementing FOIA at several agencies that need to improve response efforts.

HEARING BACKGROUND:

  • Enacted in 1966, FOIAis a transparency tool for individuals to ensure government accountability. Under FOIA, requesters may ask federal agencies for information about any matter. An agency has 20 business days to respond to a request (and an additional ten days for unusual circumstances) and must release non-exempt records to the requester.
  • In Fiscal Year 2014, the federal government received 714,231 FOIA requests. The backlog of FOIA cases that had not been processed within the statutory time limit increased by 67 percent to a total of 159,741 backlogged cases.

Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
Ms. Joyce A. Barr Chief FOIA Officer U.S. Department of State Document
Ms. Mary Howard Director, Privacy, Governmental Liaison, and Disclosure Internal Revenue Service Document
Ms. Melanie Ann Pustay Director, Office of Information Policy U.S. Department of Justice Document
Ms. Karen Neuman Chief FOIA Officer U.S. Department of Homeland Security Document
Mr. Brodi Fontenot Chief FOIA Officer U.S. Department of Treasury Document

Related Documents

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Transcript Document