Bipartisan group of Senators concerned about FOIA trends

Image: Sen. Grassley and other senators are concerned about DOJ “culture of secrecy”

It’s no secret that many Freedom of Information Act requests take a long time to be answered or are never answered at all.

In 2016, Congress passed the FOIA Improvement Act establishing a “presumption of openness,” meaning an agency can only refuse to release requested records if it believes they will put national security at risk, for example.

However, four members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have written a letter to the Department of Justice office that processes the agency’s FOIA requests. The letter expresses their concern about a “continued culture of secrecy in the federal bureaucracy.”

Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) have noted “negative trends in compliance with the Freedom of Information Act,” which include long delays, lawsuits, and a simple lack of acknowledgement of receiving requests, in many instances.

You can read the full letter from Grassley, Leahy, Cornyn, and Feinstein to the Director of the Office of Information at the Department of Justice here:

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