(WFB) -- The Department of Justice told top congressional investigators Monday it has not challenged a single instance of a federal agency withholding records from Freedom of Information (FOIA) requestors since 2009.
Principal deputy assistant attorney general Peter Kadzik said in a letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Monday that while the department’s Office of Information Policy gives guidance to other agencies on proper applications of FOIA exemptions, it has not determined that any of those exemptions were improper in four years.
“Since 2009 … OIP has not received a compliance inquiry where it determined that a withholding was improper due to use of an exemption,” Kadzik wrote to oversight chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D., Md.). “Thus, OIP has not prepared any memoranda or official guidance that questioned an agency’s decision to withhold a record.”
Kadzik’s letter came in response to inquiries from Issa and Cummings about DOJ’s enforcement of FOIA compliance throughout the federal government.
As previously reported by the Washington Free Beacon, the Obama administration’s transparency goals have largely fallen flat, disappointing many journalists and government transparency advocates.
Attorney General Eric Holder issued a 2009 memorandum instructing agencies to update their FOIA regulations and operate under a “presumption of disclosure.” However, government watchdogs say the directive went largely ignored and unenforced.
A government-wide audit performed by the National Security Archive in December first revealed the widespread lack of compliance with the Holder memo.
Fifty-six agencies have not updated their FOIA regulations since the memo was released, the audit found. Additionally, more than half have not updated their regulations since before the OPEN Government Act of 2007.
The Justice Department has not updated its own regulations since 2003.
The audit prompted a letter to the justice Department from Issa and Cummings. Continue reading via The Washington Free Beacon...