Study: FOIA Reforms Haven't Brought Better Performance -- Yet

July 17, 2008

A newly released study by the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government finds that federal agencies "have made little if any progress in responding to Freedom of Information Act requests, despite a two-year-old presidential order to improve service."

The CJOG findings contradict Justice Department claims in a June 2008 report that the federal government has made "remarkable improvements" under a Bush administration program aimed at heading off Congressional reform of FOIA.

"The CJOG review of performance reports shows agencies did cut their record backlog but more because of a steep decline in requests than stepped up processing of requests," the report found. "It also indicated scant improvement and some regression in traditional measures of response, including the amount of time requesters have to wait for an answer and whether a request or an appeal is granted."