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50 Organizations Urge Obama to Update Freedom of Information Act

EPIC has joined a coalition of more than 50 organizations that has asked President Obama to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act. "Only statutory reform and your public commitment to that reform will ensure the commitments you have made last beyond your presidency," the groups wrote. President Obama signed a memorandum in support of Open Government the day after he was inaugurated in 2009, but open government groups say he has not done enough to promote government transparency. The groups are now urging the President to commit to a "presumption of openness" and to endorse the "foreseeable harm" standard mandated by the Attorney General. The groups would also like to see the President support a narrowing of the communication privilege and end the withholding of documents more than 25 years old. Finally, the groups said that agencies that miss statutory deadlines should not charge fees and that the FOIA ombudsman should be strengthened. For more information, see EPIC: Open Government.

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