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Taking aim at Obama administration failures on FOIA

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  1. Freedom of Information
In the summer edition of the American Bar Association’s administrative and regulatory newsletter, former Justice Department Office of Information director…

In the summer edition of the American Bar Association’s administrative and regulatory newsletter, former Justice Department Office of Information director Daniel Metcalfe takes aim at the Obama administration’s Freedom of Information Act policy.

Metcalfe compared Attorney General Eric Holder’s memo on FOIA to that of former Attorney General Janet Reno, who led the Justice Department under President Clinton, and finds it lacking, particularly with its advice to review ongoing lawsuits "when practicable."

Metcalfe went on: “Even more confusing is its cryptic admonition that ‘agencies should readily and systematically post information online in advance of any public request.’”

He asked: “Does that mean that Attorney General Holder is calling upon all agencies to affirmatively disclose any information that could become the subject of a FOIA request (a truly monumental effort), as some public interest groups have naively gone so far as to advocate? No one knows.”

Metcalfe also urged that the various agency FOIA regulations be updated as part of the government’s implementation of the 2007 FOIA amendments.