Rather than fulfilling Congress’s bipartisan mandate to establish the ombudsman at the respected National Archives, the Bush budget attempts a shell-game switch of the new watchdog to the Department of Justice. Mediator? This is the very administration-friendly agency already responsible for defending agencies against lawsuits by citizens denied their information requests.* * *The ombudsman’s independence is at the heart of repairing the information law. Congress must strike down the president’s end-run and keep the new watchdog at the National Archives, alert to the public’s understandable suspicions about its government.
Prior post: Bush Defunds FOIA Ombuds Program.