Missing from the President's 2009 budget is funding for the newly-enacted Freedom of Information Act Ombuds. The ombuds office at the National Archives and Records Administration was seen as the centerpiece of legislation passed by Congress last year and signed by Bush on Deccember 31. The budget confirmed fears that the White House had eliminated the job at the archives transferred responsibility for FOIA dispute resolution to the Justice Department.
Daniel J. Metcalfe, who ran the DOJ Office of Information and Privacy before retiring voiced his concern. “Ironically, this is so transparent: OMB and Justice seek to avoid complying with this FOIA amendment by instead merely proposing its alteration, and through an appropriations process that of course won’t conclude until near the end of the year, if even by then,” Metcalfe said. “Meanwhile, existing law is flouted, a terrible example is set for FOIA implementation, and ‘the clock is run out’ by this administration. Congress should see through this and not tolerate it.” (Austin American-Statesman; GovernmentExecutive.com.)
Prior posts: Are Ombuds the Solution to FOIA Disputes?; Coalition Advocates Federal FOIA Ombuds; Bill to Create FOIA Ombuds Goes to President;