May 19, 2022

A New U.S. House Oversight and Gov Reform Committee Staff Report Says FOIA is “Broken”

Key Findings From Report (via U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Website):

  • The Executive Branch culture encourages an unlawful presumption in favor of secrecy when responding to FOIA requests.
  • The administration is unaware that FOIA is systemically broken.
  • Agencies create and follow FOIA policies that appear to be designed to deter requesters from pursuing requests and create barriers to accessing records.
  • FOIA requesters have good reason to mistrust even fair and earnest attempts by agencies to fulfill requests. In the words of one requester, “something is desperately wrong with the process.”
  • The Department of State had numerous open requests that are nearly a decade old, making them arguably the worst agency with respect to FOIA compliance.

Direct to Background and Summary

Direct to Full Text Report (46 pages; PDF) and Embedded Below

Legislation: Read and Track H.R. 653, the FOIA Act, in U.S. Congress (via

See Also: FOIA Reform Bill on Fast-Track for a Vote in the House (

UPDATE Jan 12, 2015: House Passes FOIA Reform, Again (Via Politico)

FOIA Is Broken: A Report by LJ's infoDOCKET

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.