Bush Tries to Eliminate FOIA Ombudsman

february 5, 2008  05:27 pm
Only 35 days after signing the OPEN Government Act into law, President Bush wants to kill a key provision of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reform bill via a budgetary maneuver, reports Cox Newspapers' Washington Bureau. Bush's proposal would eliminate funding for an ombudsman at the National Archive and Records Administration and transfer the role of settling FOIA disputes to the Justice Department. Open government advocates believe Justice has a conflict of interest that would inevitably lead the department to defend federal agencies seeking to keep government records secret. "This proposal violates both the explicit text of the OPEN Government Act and its legislative intent," bill sponsors Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and John Cornyn (R-TX) wrote today in a letter expressing their opposition to Bush's spending plan.