Bipartisan FOIA reform is on the ropes – and Sen. Rockefeller is throwing the punches

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. Official file photo

Sunlight and our allies have been working for months ironing out the FOIA Improvement Act, addressing concerns and urging Congress to pass this much-needed, bipartisan reform.

And it was working, too. It passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously two weeks ago. That’s after months of negotiating within the committee to get passed concerns – negotiations that tangibly changed the bill from great to good.

But after getting passed a variety of concerns from offices, at the eleventh hour, we got news that Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., is holding the measure in what amounts to a secret effort to kill the bill.

So that’s the part that’s hard to figure out. How did Rockefeller get involved? Why? Is killing FOIA reform really the last thing he wants to do before retirement?

If you can, help us demand an answer before it’s too late — and FOIA reform becomes just another missed opportunity. You can email Rockefeller’s office directly through his OpenCongress page, or call his office line: (202) 224-6472. And here’s his Twitter handle: @SenRockefeller.

There were additional problems that cropped up earlier after it had passed out of the committee. Sunlight and our allies reached out however possible to smooth over other issues, such as the previous hold that Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla, put on the bill; that hold was released yesterday.

Others have also spoken up to support the FOIA Improvement Act; will you join them in this important transparency effort?