Surprise: FOIA lawsuits up 28 percent over Bush years in Obama’s first term

posted at 1:11 pm on January 23, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

Transparency:

The number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits filed against the federal government has increased dramatically under the Obama administration, according to a December study by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC).

A comparison between the last two years of President George W. Bush’s second term and the last two years of President Barack Obama’s first term shows FOIA lawsuits jumped by 28 percent, TRAC reports.

FOIA lawsuits are filed to challenge denials of records requests or the use of exemptions of information by federal agencies.

The number of FOIA lawsuits filed against the State Department rose by 111 percent in those time periods, from 18 to 38. FOIA lawsuits rose by 60 percent at both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Additionally, the Department of Justice saw an increase by 50 percent.

In characteristic Obama administration style, Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder made sweeping promises about reforming FOIA procedures and issued memoranda. Holder then did nothing to achieve those changes, and even abetted regression:

A government-wide audit performed by the National Security Archives found 62 of 99 federal agencies have not updated their FOIA regulations since Attorney General Eric Holder issued a 2009 memorandum instructing them to do so.

The audit also revealed that 56 agencies have not updated their FOIA regulations since the passage of the OPEN Government Act of 2007, which mandated agencies retool their FOIA offices, including fee structures and reporting.

Holder has done little to implement those guidelines four years after issuing them, and his Justice Department has defended all agencies that choose to withhold information from the public, a report on FOIAproject.org found.

As Erika noted in December:

[I]t’s not that hard for administrators that care to do so to comply with Obama’s transparency promises and directives, but they were directives issued without any teeth in them — it was pretty much just a showy request, and Obama isn’t bothering to make sure anything is being done about it. I believe the golfing terminology is “follow-through.”

A by-no-means exhaustive list of previous transparency problems:

Obama admin finally releases their regulatory agenda — and only eight months late

Obama’s inaugural committee on the receiving end of transparency complaints

EPA releases first tranche of Lisa Jackson’s alias e-mail correspondence

No bigs: Head of EPA does a bunch of work on an alias e-mail account

Contractor building federal Obamacare exchange has a big ol’ conflict of interest

Gee, whiz: Federal agencies lagging way behind on Obama’s transparency promises

But, hey, in the words of the most admired woman in America, “What difference does it make?”


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Turd cannot be transparent.

Archivarix on January 23, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Is it just me or did it take anyone else a long time to figure out what the thread photo was showing?

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 23, 2013 at 1:17 PM

FOIA lawsuits up 28 percent over Bush years in Obama’s first term

Richard Windsor asks what difference it makes.

Happy Nomad on January 23, 2013 at 1:23 PM

What difference do it make?

The street version of HRH Hillary’s favorite phrase today.

PappyD61 on January 23, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Transparently corrupt.

rbj on January 23, 2013 at 1:28 PM

Im still waiting for PAYGO.

And that 5 day “viewing” period to read all legislation online before it becomes draconian law.

Promises, promises.

FlaMurph on January 23, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Straight up racism!

tom daschle concerned on January 23, 2013 at 1:39 PM

[I]t’s not that hard for administrators that care to do so to comply with Obama’s transparency promises and directives, but they were directives issued without any teeth in them — it was pretty much just a showy request, and Obama isn’t bothering to make sure anything is being done about it. I believe the golfing terminology is “follow-through.”

Heh.

Tim_CA on January 23, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Hmmm…I wonder how many requests there would have been if this were a Republican administration and the press actually wanted to know what was going on.

Lily on January 23, 2013 at 1:42 PM

it was pretty much just a showy request

Yep, the administration that is ‘all show and no go’. But then, what would one really expect from a ‘community organizer’ who never accomplished anything other than spread taxpayer money amongst his friends?

GarandFan on January 23, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Hmmm…I wonder how many requests there would have been if this were a Republican administration and the press actually wanted to know what was going on.

Lily on January 23, 2013 at 1:42 PM

…we would be reading and hearing about T R A N S P A R E N C Y… 24/7…for four years now!

KOOLAID2 on January 23, 2013 at 2:41 PM

FOIA? Did someone say FOIA?

Akzed on January 23, 2013 at 3:08 PM