The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is an important tool that allows Americans to better understand how their government operates. It allows private citizens, the press, and organizations like NRDC to request government documents such as emails and report drafts, which can sometimes become evidence in court cases. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just finalized a rule that could stifle FOIA’s effectiveness. The agency has granted lower levels of political appointees the authority to weigh in on FOIA requests, including whether and how much of a record to release. Matt Topic, a Chicago-based government transparency lawyer, says the change could lead to political appointees overruling a FOIA officer’s decision. The implication is clear: Political appointees often have political motives—and if the Trump administration has taught us anything, Americans need more transparency into the goings-on in government, not less.
Skip carousel items
Latest NewsUnited StatesJeff Turrentine
One thing hasn’t changed since Andrew Wheeler replaced Scott Pruitt: Career staffers are still being pressured to lie for their boss.
The Natural Resources Defense Council filed a lawsuit today asking a federal court to order the release of records addressing whether Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is adhering to ethical obligations, and whether he is favoring industry stakeholders.
Expert BlogLuke Tonachel
Leaders in Congress are again raising their concerns about the Trump administration’s plan to rollback common-sense clean car and fuel economy standards. And for good reasons—consumers, workers and all those that depend on clean air and a stable climate will…