Obama Administration doesn’t fare well in FOIA response test

IRE shares a report from Bloomberg News on how well the Obama Administration has done on the president’s promise for more transparency.

The final grade is “needs improvement.”

To test how responsive the government has been to records requests, Bloomberg reporters submitted FOIA requests to 57 agencies — from the State Department to NASA — asking for the 2011 travel records of top employees.

Nineteen of 20 cabinet-level agencies did not respond within the 20 days required under the federal Freedom of Information Act. Half the agencies produced the data well past the statutory deadlines. The other half have not responded.

As most open-government advocates know, FOIA is not the best tool for getting information out of government in a timely manner. But with Obama’s promise of openness, and his reversing the Ashcroft doctrine of looking for any grounds to deny a request, we were hoping for some improvement.

What has your experience been? And do you find states do a better job than the federal government in releasing public information?

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