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Obama Administration’s Disgraceful FOIA Record Pointed Out Again

March 15, 2013 by  

Obama Administration’s Disgraceful FOIA Record Pointed Out Again

Despite lofty claims, the Administration of Barack Obama has left much to be desired in the transparency department. The Administration has been called out for abusing White House Press pool reporters in recent weeks and, throughout the President’s tenure, has been criticized for not forcing Federal compliance with Freedom of Information Act requests.

Non-partisan group Cause of Action submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to 16 different Federal agencies in April 2012 concerning spending on promotional items between January 2009 and April 2012. The organization then kept a log of which agencies complied and which did not, determining that the Obama-led government scores only a “C-” in terms of FOIA compliance.

Cause of Action reports:

  • As of February 2013: Cause of Action received 114 individual responses from offices within 16 different agencies.
  • 29 offices, or 25 percent, have not provided any production.
  • 26 offices, or 22 percent of total responders, took longer than 90 days to provide a response.
  • For the 86 offices that produced documents, the average response time was 75 business days with a median of 63 days, a figure more than double the 30 day window established by the Freedom of Information Act.

The least FOIA-compliant government agencies were the Department of Commerce and the Defense Department, both receiving a grade of “F” for not responding. The sole “A” was given to the Education Department for delivering requested documents in a timely manner with no unnecessary redactions or cost to the inquirer. The Departments of Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency each received a score of “B.”

Other agency grades in terms of transparency were:

Veterans Affairs B-
Agriculture C
State C
Energy C-
Labor C-
Justice D
Health D
Transportation D
Homeland Security D-
Treasury D-

“What Grading the Government shows is an inconsistency at best, and a failure at worst, by federal agencies in not just compliance with the President’s pledge for transparency, but compliance with basic FOIA protocol,” said Dan Epstein, Cause of Action executive director. “Failure by these agencies to disclose documents is a failure in their service to the American taxpayers who fund them and rely on them to be accountable and transparent.”

A similar review by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) released in December showed that Federal agencies were being sued for information under FOIA more times during the first Obama term than during the final four years of the George W. Bush Administration. The suits result when the agencies either take an unreasonable amount of time to produce information requested under FOIA or outright deny access.

In all, the FOIA lawsuits jumped by 28 percent, with the most drastic increases in suits being filed against the State Department (111 percent), Department of Agriculture (67 percent), Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Veterans Affairs (60 percent), as well as the Department of Justice (50 percent).

Given the number of FOIA lawsuits TRAC cites, it almost seems as if Cause of Action graded the current Presidential Administration on a curve.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • Buster the Anatolian

    It would appear obama’s definition of transparency is to replace frosted glass with opaque steel panel.

    • Warrior

      That’s one of the most “racist” things I’ve heard today!

      • Maynard

        Dear Mr. Warrior, What comment is racist? The very idea that Obama is “black” is racist. It goes to the old notion that a tiny drop of” black blood” (That blood passed on genetic traits was commonly believed before the development of microbiology and the discovery of the workings of DNA) made a person “Negro” was a common fallacy.
        We now have evidence that ALL humans are very closely related (Compared with elephants for example which are two major species, or zebras which once included four different species, or giraffes -two different species, etc) humans are only ONE species. The general definition of a species is that when two different individuals breed, their offspring can grow up to be fertile.This is certainly true of most European strain with African strain matings.
        It is well known that Obama is at least 50% caucasoid.

      • Buster the Anatolian

        Warrior if you think that comment is racist you need to change your name to something like pablum because warrior is 100 times more racist than my comment.

      • J.

        To Warrior. Shut up.

  • CatGman

    Government feels they have the right to poke their noses into every aspect of citizen’s lives, but how dare we citizens try to see what the government is doing. each and every day we the citizens are instead being viewed and treated as subjects.

  • Warrior

    Looks to me like the gubmint could use some more “patronage” workers. Now that’s what I would call a “sound investment”. BTW, I thought all this “stuff” was going to be available “online”? Hmmm, I’ll bet the only issue delaying this is we do not have a “comprehensive cyber attack” policy.

  • STEVE E.

    I you think FOIA is awful and slow, wait until Obamacare kicks in.

    • Maynard

      Obamacare will reduce the overall costs of health care in our country. When people get sick enough, even without health insurance what do they do? Think hard STEVE E. I have faith in your brainpower.
      That’s right! They head to the emergency room. Now this part is a little complicated so I will take it step by step. 1. The tax payers pay for emergency room visits.
      2. Emergency room visits are VERY VERY expensive. 3. Many conditions do not require Emergency Room attention, but the UNINSURED have no other alternative. 4. If your wife or baby got sick and you had no insurance, would you make them suffer or would you take them to the emergency room? 5. Many times a bit of prevention or a medical treatment at the beginning of an illness will nip it in the bud. Have you ever heard “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?”

      If you cannot understand any of the above, or if you think I am wrong, this forum is a great place for you to respond. Hope to hear from you!

      • Don 2

        We can all see how Obamacare is reducing the overall cost of healthcare. Sold to the low-information voters for $940 billion over ten years. Currently forecast by the CBO to cost $1.76 trillion over ten years. Let’s see, in this short period of time, that’s already up 3-times more expensive than the original lie.

  • Hedgehog

    Why would anyone file a FOIA request anyway? You already know that you’re going to get: no reply, a lie, a bigger lie, a real whopper, or a mass of redactions. An exercise in applied masochism. It’s the same up here in Canada. Of course you can always accuse the government (any department) of something wrong or nefarious, true or not, and see what kind of reaction you get.

    • Maynard

      Dear Mr. Hedge Hog, I disagree. It was through FOIA that we found that the Military did prepare a proposed false flag operation called Operation Northwoods to commit atrocities on US citizens and blame Castro to give us carte blanche to invade Cuba and that JFK rejected it; and we learned in the ’90′s that JFK DID issue an order to bring our personnel home from VIETNAM by the end of ’63. The lie that he started that war was exposed as was the truth about the false flag of the Tonkin Bay Lie, the failed attack by Israel (with US government complicity) on the USS Liberty to try to get us into the war on their side by blaming Egypt was also exposed; the Papa Bush Incubator Babies Lie was exposed; and in due time the truth, which is already evident to those with inquiring minds, such as Bob Livingstone’s, that 9/11 and the anthrax attacks were false flags, will be more widely known.

      We must fight to preserve our right to know. Otherwise what is to distinguish us from any other totalitarian state – be it right wing or left wing?

  • Cam

    Looks as though this regime does not want the public to find out what its really up to!others(bush and past houses)didn’t have as much to hide!
    It seems the biggest cover up for king obama is spending and the amount on what he’s hiding(which leads to an agenda!)since we all know he wants to destroy the currant America,it must be spending!
    And since the amount the general public now know of this “agenda”,obama has been playing shuffle board with the supplies and chess with the pieces rite under our noses!most people just don’t want to believe whats going on and turn a blind eye.this president is so brazen he moves all these pieces rite out in the open!(best place to hide something is right out in the open)but now people are starting to wake up and as of lately this president feels he needs to start hiding things,spending!his bluff was called,thin skinned as he is,he started whinning again and pointing the blame elswhere,again,his carachter is out in the open now so the blame game won’t work,we now see through it!(kinda like the American paster in Iran,he just ignores him)you wait,he’ll try to use him like a chess piece.maybe in a way of,”if you want me to do this for you,you have to do something for me!”it’s all a game to this thinskinned president!
    I told people for some time now,just follow the money!and people still won’t believe me about CCX(gore and soros and obama)in Chicago!

    • Maynard

      Dear Mr. Cam. I agree that Gore and Soros and Obama have some skeletons in their closets, but they do not compare to those of the Bush crime family. Consider the following:
      Prescott Bush earned millions in banking transactions with the Nazis and had to be stopped by the US Govt.. Prescott was a backer of the only President to be forced to resign, Richard Nixon, when he got his start in California. There was a meeting the night before JFK’s assassination, according to LBJ’s mistress, Madeleine Brown, in which LBJ, Nixon, J. Edgar Hoover and many Texas Oil Tycoons which probably included Bush, got together and plotted the final details of the assassination. The day after Bush was in J. Edgar Hoover’s office for a private meeting which was exposed by a Memo Hoover wrote naming George Bush; Bush was made head of the CIA even though he denied that memo and claimed he was never in the CIA (LIE!); the young man accused of firing the bullets that injured several, including Reagan was a son of a fellow Texas Oil Tycoon and political supporter of Papa Bush yet Papa got away with lying again and claiming he did not know the family;Papa was the power behind the Reagan throne and made Ronnie a pure puppet. Papa Bush was also behind the Kuwait Incubator Babies Lie that got us gung-ho to the Gulf War, the Bush’s were involved in the PNAC declaration that “absent some New Pearl Harbor” the public would not favor an expansion of our military adventurism. On the night of 9/11 George H.W.Bush wrote in his diary, “The Pearl Harbor of the 21st Century happened today.” The Bushes DO have a LOT to HIDE! But the cat is getting out of the bag. In the name of true justice, it cannot happen soon enough.

      • GALT

        Even better is Paul Gaffney’s recent Black 9/11…….

        And he IS on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of “liberty movement terrorist’s”.

        You would think that aspiring “terrorists” ( SPLC variety ) would be all over this “book”.

        Like Bob and Brandon…….

        Not a word yet………great book BTW……..makes you wonder who the
        CIA is actually working for?

        But nobody actually reads books here…….


    If its related to us knowing anything…. nothing….


    This is Obamas idea of transperent, just turn it on when you need it

  • GALT

    Might make a difference if it weren’t for US v. Reynolds…….but
    this little decision and it’s misinterpretation has been around since 1953

    There was nothing classified about the cause of the crash.

    The claim was to avoid liability.

    The claim of national security and “classified” can be applied to anything.

    It’s a 60 year old problem, and you lost the “constitution” 15 years before that,
    in 1937.

    ” To conquer, first DIVIDE!” ( and then HANG, separately. )

  • Uknowho

    Has anyone check to see how Obama stacks up against:

    Bush 1 and 2

    As far as being forthcomiung and transparent in their administration?

    I am just curious.

    As long as Republicans and Democrats rule, money and wealth rule the day. The rest of us get the scraps they gracious leave for us and the folks on the right defend those people who throw out those scraps. Its kinda comical if it were not for many people suffering so the CEO’s Wall Streeters can have more money to afford that 10th Lamborghini or the 8th home.

  • Maynard

    When Susan Lindauer passed on the message from Iraq that they would do almost anything to avoid our attack, including buying millions of cars from us, Andrew Card, Bush Advisor and her cousin, had her thrown in jail. When Bradley Manning tried to expose the manner in which we were conducting the war in Iraq included killing innocent unarmed civilians, journalists and children, he was thrown in jail.
    Both the Bush and Obama administrations have tried to keep us in the dark about facts that would influence the public’s awareness that the US has become a force for violence torture and terror, based on the trumped up charges that Muslims were behind 9/11 and the anthrax letters. When a good government goes bad, WE THE PEOPLE, need transparency and access to information to set things right.
    HIDING behind SECRECY is a way of manipulating us and treating us as SHEEPLE. It does not matter, as Uknowho and other posters are saying, what label the government is hiding behind. (Democrat, Republican or Independent), It is WRONG!

    • GALT

      So you came here to be a “professional mushroom”?

      In order to think for yourself….actually THINKING is a requirement.

  • jopa

    Those White House press pool reporters are still crying because they couldn’t go on the golf course with The President and the Tiger.Why don’t they spend a little time covering the House.Oh that’s right. nothing happening there.What a bunch of cry babies.

    • phideaux

      “.Oh that’s right. nothing happening there.”

      Thats true, nothing is happening there because obama is on the golf course with Tiger.

      • Maynard

        How do you know, Mr. Phideaux? From what I’ve read, Barry might have wanted to borrow Tiger’s Wood.

      • GALT

        Wasn’t that what started all his problems? ( and getting caught )

      • jopa

        phideau;The President will not sign any legislation or bills unless they exist.May as well go golfing.

  • CatGman

    Freedom of information??? Right. The governement is capable of any number of lies they can make up to get us to believe anything they want.

    • J.

      Careful CatGman. You do not want to upset the emperor, he is working on his golf game. F*%^&%$ Hypocrit

    • GALT

      Kinda like freedom of speech……which you insisted on “exercising”
      and essentially wasted by saying NOTHING.

      You do realize that in the “liberty movement” putting your two cents in,
      and then calculating the “inflation” all the way back to the glory days
      of the drunken founders of the republic makes it worth……..?

      Of course, since Charlie is our new math major here…… I’ll let him tell you.

      After he explains to me why E = MCC is incorrect, also?

      He at least has a chance at the first part……..


    Do any of you know what the reponse to this desecration of FOIA has been by this illegal administration, have checked or read or heard the disdain they feel you?

    The AG, the WH and the lobbyist they employ are looking to finaggle a way to sabotage the FOIA, just as they want to co-opt your 2nd amendment and every other legal means that protect your freedoms and serve to interfere with their agenda of a utopian socialist nation. If you do not get up of your comfortable butts and learn that elitism is what they seek, you will never have a future to hand your children and this country will cease to exist as the beacon of liberty that that has lit up the world for over 200 years…….

    • GALT

      You’re off by about seventy years,,,,,,,,

      Although you have been pretty much done from 1776…….

      Here’s a little trivia…..which is not trivial.

      In 1877…….which departments of the the Federal Governments employed
      the most people……..

      The first two will be sufficient………..

      C’mon ( never, ever ) Vigilant….you do show some promise in this area….
      although you’re not real good at connecting the dots…….

      • FreedomFighter

        Galt you use the cyber attack sigil as your ID icon…are you a paid shill? Minimum wage to be a traitor to your country is…well…disgusting. I can think of no lower form of life including pond scum.

        Note to all: 3-22-13 is almost upon us – this is a special day for the Lucys, dont know what is going to happen if anything on or around this day – just that the rumors are buzzing loud and all over.

        Laus Deo
        Semper FI

  • FreedomFighter

    JFK secret society speech

    Obama …withhold information, stiffles descent…intimidation…

    Laus Deo
    Semper FI

  • Ukan

    This website is far more disgraceful than Obama’s administration will ever be!


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