Adopt FOIA Reforms

Agencies should be encouraged to adopt FOIA reforms that reflect a presumption of openness, and agencies should be directed to join the FOIA Portal.


The administration should ensure that all agencies adopt regulations that reflect a presumption of openness to FOIA requests. Agencies should not promulgate regulations that mislead requesters about whether records exist nor issue new hurdles to requesters that provide an excuse for the agency to deny requests.

The administration should also encourage all agencies to use the new “FOIA Portal” launched by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Commerce Department. Widespread adoption of the portal will result in cost savings and greater efficiencies, as the portal will enable agencies to receive, monitor and process electronically filed FOIA requests. Requesters can use the portal to search and retrieve records previously released under FOIA. Transparency would be improved because released documents would be available to the general public, rather than just the requester.

The portal will be markedly less useful to the public if only a few agencies participate, and agencies’ receptiveness to FOIA requests will continue to vary if they do not receive a strong directive from the White House that transparency in the FOIA process is a priority that can be partly satisfied by using the new portal.

Download as: