Justice drops proposed rule that would have allowed FOIA lies

So much for institutionalized lying billed as “transparency”:

The Department of Justice has canceled a controversial planned revision to Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) rules that opponents said would have allowed federal agencies to lie about the existence of records.

In a letter to Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley on Thursday, the DOJ wrote that the proposed rule “falls short” of its commitment to transparency, and it “will not include that provision when the Department issues final regulations.”

As part of larger revision of FOIA practices, the proposed rule would have allowed federal agencies to deny the existence of records when applying an exclusion, even if the records did exist.

As the PJ Tatler says, this is good news … presuming that they’re not lying about the not lying.

Even with this reversal, this episode should be kept in mind, especially when Obama inevitably claims to have run the most transparent administration in history.  The FOIA process forces government to be transparent and open, which is the reason Congress enacted it in the first place.  In an administration that has its fingers in Solyndra, Fast & Furious, and other scandals, we need the Department of Justice to be more forthcoming, not less — especially on its own Fast & Furious documents.  Enshrining the ability to lie into the rules is not what Americans expect out of a government that is expected to operate under the rule of law, rather than the rule of whim and because-I-said-so.

The only aspect of this proposal that was transparent was its absurdity.  The DoJ’s retreat now doesn’t make the previous two efforts to push it any less absurd.

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