Issa, Cummings Join Forces on Transparency Legislation

Thursday, 14 Mar 2013 02:46 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Congress' top government watchdogs appear to be pressing ahead with legislation aimed at forcing federal agencies to deliver on President Barack Obama's promise of more government transparency.

According to Politico, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings have put together a draft proposal that would force the government to respond to and deliver a lot faster, and with a lot more information, on requests made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Their legislation would change the standard of operation established under the George W. Bush administration that essentially made people prove they needed the information for a particular reason before it was released.

The proposal, which calls for agencies to address all requests with a "presumption of openness," also calls for eventually handling FOIA requests through an online portal. Some agencies, such as the Commerce Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, already do. But Issa and Cummings said at a hearing on the issue Wednesday that they believe the practice should be extended government-wide to make delivery of information faster and more efficient.


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