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ALA President Jim Rettig Issues Statement on FOIA Hearing

The American Library Association feels strongly that the Office of Government Information Services should become a part of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) as was first intended. The placement of this Office within NARA will enhance the public’s access to government information, streamlining the FOIA process. This Office was created in 2007 in recognition of the possibility of disagreement between Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requesters and federal agencies; previously there was no mechanism to bring a federal agency in compliance with the law. NARA’s primary purpose is providing access to government information and putting this responsibility there gives this Office the best chance for success.

Jim Rettig
ALA President

Information Policy, Census, and National Archives Subcommittee (Chairman Clay, D-Mo.) of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on the implementation of the Office of Government Information Services, which was established in 2007 to mediate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) disputes between federal agencies and FOIA requesters, review and evaluate agency FOIA compliance and house the newly established FOIA ombudsman. There has been disagreement between Congress and the administration over whether the office should be part of the National Archives and Records Service or part of the Justice Department.

The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2:00pm, 2154 Rayburn Building.

Witnesses scheduled to appear include:

Allen Weinstein – Archivist, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Adrienne Thomas – NARA
Thomas Blanton – Director, National Security Archive, The George Washington University
Patrice McDermott –
Rick Blum – Coordinator, Sunshine in Government Initiative
Terry Mutchler – Executive Director, Office of Open Records, State of Pennsylvania

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Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

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