” Despite President Obama’s pledge to run the “most transparent administration in history,” federal agencies are still struggling to meet White House benchmarks, and at least three ignored Freedom of Information Act reporting requirements, according to several recent reports released in conjunction with Sunshine Week.
The government watchdog group Cause of Action released a Freedom of Information Act report card for 15 federal agencies that receive the bulk of all FOIA requests. Six of the 15 agencies received failing grades. Three agencies—the Departments of Education, Homeland Security and Treasury—earned “F” grades for failing to comply with the law’s annual reporting requirements.
“ Our oversight mission—which focuses on transparency, and accountability in the Federal government—depends upon agency compliance with FOIA,” Cause of Action executive director Dan Epstein said in a statement. “Based on our findings over the past three years, Cause of Action has no reason to believe that agency performance under FOIA has improved, which is simply unacceptable to taxpayers who deserve a government that operates in the open.”
Besides FOIA compliance, agencies are also lagging in other areas. An audit by the National Security Archive released Friday found that only 40 percent of agencies have followed laws requiring them to post records released through FOIA in their electronic reading rooms.”