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FOIA backers in the Senate

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From the Winter 2008 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 17. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and John…

From the Winter 2008 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 17.

Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), co-sponsors of the OPEN Government Act, wrote to Jim Nussle, director of the Office of Management and Budget, expressing their opposition to eliminating funding for a FOIA ombudsman at the National Archive and Records Administration:

"This proposal violates both the explicit text of the OPEN Government Act and its legislative intent…. We and our fellow lawmakers, supported by the FOIA requestor community, sought to make the FOIA ombudsman independent of the Department of Justice, which represents agencies sued by FOIA requestors. A primary reason for this intentional separation was to enhance the office’s independence, as well as to avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest. We did not want the same agency to both mediate FOIA disputes and defend against them in court, if litigation ensued. The administration’s proposal alters the essential character of OGIS as an independent, disinterested office serving FOIA requestors."

Feb. 5, 2008