By Morgan Watkins | May 17th, 2011
While a summit today in Washington, D.C. trained government employees to handle fee-related FOIA issues, House Republicans opposed a potential executive order from President Obama that would increase political transparency among government contractors.
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Information Policy held its FOIA Fee Summit today to train employees from various government agencies to handle issues that often occur when deciding what fees or fee waivers are appropriate for FOIA requests, according to the U.S. Department of Justice website.
The summit wasn’t the OIP’s only FOI-related event today. It also held the first of two training sessions about new guidelines for FOIA’s Exemption 2, which allows records “related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency” to be exempted from mandatory disclosure under the act.
This exemption figured prominently in a recent U.S. Supreme Court case, Milner v. Department of the Navy. The court decided in March that the rule should be interpreted more narrowly.
The second session will be on June 9.
While the OIP educated employees on the finer points of FOIA today, Obama continued to face opposition over a proposed executive order that would force government contractors to disclose any political contributions, according to The Hill, a congressional newspaper.
In a letter to Obama sent Monday, 43 members of the Republican Study Committee, a group that includes more than 175 Republicans in the House of Representatives and aims to promote a conservative economic and social agenda, asked him not to sign the draft order. If he does, they wrote they would introduce legislation quickly in the House of Representatives to block it from being implemented.
While Republicans and some Democrats have voiced opposition to the order, more than 30 public interest groups have supported it.
- Morgan Watkins
Morgan Watkins is SPJ’s summer Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern and a University of Florida student. Reach her by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or connect with her on Twitter (@morganwatkins26).