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Model FOIA Regulations

“A coalition of transparency organizations set a new benchmark for transparency by publishing model Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regulations, building on FOIA’s 50-year legacy of making government more open and accountable. The groups—Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), and the National Security Archive—all experts in FOIA litigation, recommend a common set of practices to ensure agencies protect the public’s right to know. The Freedom of Information Act is a critical tool to shine a light on the inner workings of government. Unfortunately, FOIA processes at federal agencies differ greatly from one another, making it difficult for information-seekers to navigate red tape. These model regulations will help standardize these processes and improve citizens’ ability to see behind the scenes in Washington. The recommendations are timely. On the legislative side, the House of Representatives recently passed legislation to improve FOIA and the Senate is considering a significant overhaul. In the executive, as part of the White House’s December 2013 National Action Plan, the president committed to create “a core FOIA regulation and common set of practices,” a responsibility that will fall on the Department of Justice’s Office of Information Policy.”

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