Justice Department Withdraws Proposed Rule Change on Freedom of Information Act Requests
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (202) 675-2312; email@example.com
WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice (DOJ) today withdrew a proposed regulation that would allow government agencies to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests with false denials that the documents sought actually exist, when, in fact, they do. Providing such false denials has apparently been a practice at DOJ for decades, which was most recently revealed in a FOIA lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.
The ACLU Washington Legislative Office and members of Congress across the ideological spectrum including Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mark Udall (D-CO), and Representative Lamar Smith (R-IL) in particular, along with OpenTheGovernment.org, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and other open government groups, helped pressure DOJ to withdraw this regulation.
The open government community will work with Congress and the administration to create effective guidelines and oversight that ensure government agencies provide sufficient information to understand how FOIA requests are handled, so citizens can effectively use the courts to protect their right to government information while still protecting the government’s need for secrecy in very narrow circumstances.
“Government accountability can only be assured through transparency,” said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Putting an end to lies about the mere existence of documents is one step toward restoring Americans’ trust in their government. We will work with the Justice Department to develop a truthful and informative response to all FOIA requesters, even where the government is authorized to withhold documents from release.”
Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.
The Latest in Free Speech
The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.
Learn More About Free Speech
Protecting free speech means protecting a free press, the democratic process, diversity of thought, and so much more. The ACLU has worked since 1920 to ensure that freedom of speech is protected for everyone.