Justice Fails to Meet Current Responsibilities under FOIA

february 6, 2008  07:43 pm
In its FY09 budget proposal released earlier this week, the Bush Administration transfered to the Justice Department the Freedom of Information Act ombudsman position recently created by an act of Congress. The Bureau of National Affairs (subscription only) reports today that Justice failed to meet its own FOIA backlog reduction goal of 15 percent for 2007. "This should never happen, especially at the department that is responsible for reviewing other agency annual FOIA reports for accuracy," a former Justice official told BNA. The Justice Department currently provides guidance to federal agencies on FOIA compliance and also has a role in defending agencies against challenges to FOIA denials. Critics of the administration's proposal contend that because of its role in defending FOIA challenges, Justice lacks the neutrality to handle the new ombudsman function. More on the controversy from the Washington Post, the Ocala Star-Banner and Scripps Howard News Service.