Senator Leahy is a longtime leader in promoting government transparency and strengthening the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Senator Leahy has worked with members on both sides of the aisle to enhance and expand American’s access to information about what its government is doing. He has authored several important pieces of open government legislation and chaired several hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Senator Leahy is the author of the OPEN Government Act, which made the first significant reforms to the Freedom of Information Act in more than a decade. The OPEN Government Act became law in 2007. Senator Leahy is also the author of the OPEN FOIA Act, which requires Congress to clearly state its intentions when providing statutory exemptions to FOIA in new legislation. The OPEN FOIA Act was signed into law in 2009. Senator Leahy has continued his efforts to improve the Freedom of Information Act by seeing through the Senate passage of the Faster FOIA Act, which would make further improvements to the Freedom of Information Act by addressing the growing backlogs of FOIA requests and and reduce delays in granting requests.
Senator Leahy was the 2009 recipient of the Robert Vaughn FOIA Legend Award. He was installed in the Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame in 1996.