The Freedom of Information Act

One would think the Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] is a wonderful tool for citizens and groups to use to obtain information from the federal government when the government is not forthcoming on their own.

However, my observation is that filing the request is rarely complied with in a timely manner. Many times a lawsuit must be filed to force compliance. A very good example of a group which files numerous lawsuits is Judicial Watch. Practically every one of their newsletters contains information on a new lawsuit filed to obtain information which should be readily available. Filing lawsuits is not practicle for most citizens and thus the original intent is defeated.

In researching FOIA I discovered that it was updated in 1996 (E-FOIA) to utilize the Internet and other electronic means. Each government agency, e.g. the EPA, generally has a FOIA office for the sole purpose of responding to FOIA requests. I read one article about a FOIA Task Force formed to study how well the agency (in this case the EPA) complied with the law. In their conclusion they admitted many shortcomings, but (not surprisingly) pointed to an insufficient number of staff, staff training, and equipment as the primary cause. This forces the agency to prioritize requests, giving highest priority to lawsuits.

Apparently we Conservative citizens are contributing to a situation where “the system” is overwhelmed with requests. This is the Cloward-Piven Strategy used by the Progressives in an attempt to collapse the system.


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