President Lyndon Johnson signed the landmark Freedom of Information Act law on July 4, 1966. In doing so he declared: "A democracy works best when the people have all the information that the security of the nation will permit." Indeed, when members of the public have diligently pursued information under the FOIA, they have identified government waste and mismanagement and exposed significant controversies about government programs.
Now the 41st birthday of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is upon us and a coalition of groups is urging the Congress to pass a bill — currently (and ironically) locked behind a closed door — that would reform the FOIA and make it work better for the public. The OPEN Government Act (S. 849) would enact common-sense reforms to the FOIA and put in place incentives for federal agencies to process FOIA requests from the public in a timely manner. The bill is supported by a large and diverse coalition.
Let's make this 4th of July "Information Independence Day."