02.04.08

he President’s Decision To Fund The Office Of Government Information Services Through The Department Of Justice In The FY2009 Budget Request

WASHINGTON (Monday, Feb. 4, 2008) – The President late last year signed into law the OPEN Government Act of 2007, legislation sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), to make the first reforms to the Freedom of Information Act.  The OPEN Government Act also established the Office of Government Information Services within the National Archives and Records Administration.  Within OGIS, the law calls for an appointed FOIA ombudsman to review agency policies and procedures, audit agency performance, recommend policy changes, and mediate disputes between FOIA requestors and agencies. 

 

On Jan. 24, Leahy signaled that the administration intended to shift the responsibilities of OGIS from the independent NARA to the Department of Justice.  The President’s FY2009 budget request, released Monday, confirms that the White House intends to fund the functions of OGIS through DOJ.

“Once again, the White House has shown they intend to act contrary to the intent of Congress by removing the Office of Government Information Services from the non-partisan, independent office of the National Archives and Records Administration and moving it to the Department of Justice.  The President signed legislation into law to establish the OGIS to respond to long outstanding FOIA requests.  Now the President has repealed part of the law he signed just over a month ago.  I will continue to work through the appropriations process to make sure that the National Archives and Records Administration has the necessary resources and funds to comply with the OPEN Government Act, and we will continue to work in Congress to make necessary reforms to the Freedom of Information Act.”

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