Following an earlier vote by the House, the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved $1 million to fund a new Ombuds office for Freedom of Information Act disputes. The office, known as the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), will be placed at the National Archives and Records Administration. The Bush administration provoked outrage earlier this year when it proposed eliminating funding for the office and moving it from the National Archives to the Department of Justice. Under the new FOIA amendments enacted into law, OGIS has responsibility for providing mediation services as an alternative to litigation in FOIA disputes. OGIS also has authority to review agency compliance with FOIA requirements and recommend policy changes to Congress. (77 U.S.L.W. 2043; Sen. Leahy Comment.)
Related posts: Bill to Create FOIA Ombuds Goes to President; White House Seeks to Move FOIA Ombuds to Justice Dept.; Bush Defunds FOIA Ombuds Program; NY Times Calls for Restoration of FOIA Ombuds.