Thursday, August 2, 2007

Bush, GOP block FOI reform

Republican Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona is helping the Bush administration's Department of Justice block a measure that would require Freedom of Information Act requests to be processed in a timely manner.

Writing a few weeks ago in USA Today, reporter Richard Wolf cited examples such as Don Stillman, who in 1991 filed a request with the State Department for information on workers’ rights abuses in South Korea. Stillman, then employed by the United Auto Workers, never heard back.

“It seems like they have far too great a leeway to fail to respond without some accountability,” he says.

More typical is the case of Rick Blum, who sought documents from the Food and Drug Administration in 2002 on behalf of a public-interest group. Four years later, he got a call saying his request had reached the front of the line.

“Citizens have to wait years to get routine documents,” says Blum, who runs the Sunshine in Government Initiative for media groups. “That renders them useless.”

Here's a copy of Wolf's news story via the Free Press web --site