This week, the Office of Information Policy (OIP) posted the Department’s 2019 FOIA Litigation and Compliance Report. In accordance with the FOIA, each year the Department of Justice submits to Congress and the President a report detailing our efforts to encourage agency compliance with the FOIA. The report also contains a listing of all FOIA litigation cases received and decided in the prior calendar year. The report highlights the many ways that OIP works to provide guidance, trainings, and counseling to agencies to assist them in their FOIA administration and to promote agency accountability.
This year's report once again summarizes new policy guidance issued by OIP and the Department, which for 2019 includes:
- Memorandum from the Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General to Agency General Counsels and Chief FOIA Officers regarding Chief FOIA Officer Designations
- Joint DOJ/OMB Guidance for Achieving Interoperability with the National Freedom of Information Act Portal on FOIA.gov
- Adjudicating Administrative Appeals under the FOIA
- Guidelines for 2020 Chief FOIA Officer Reports
- Exemption 4 after the Supreme Court’s Ruling in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media
- Updated Department of Justice Handbook for Agency Annual Freedom of Information Act Reports
- Guidance for Further Improvement Based on 2019 Chief FOIA Officer Report Review and Assessment
The report also discusses a range of efforts by OIP to promote agency accountability with the FOIA, including through the review and assessment of agencies’ 2019 Chief FOIA Officer Reports and Annual FOIA Reports, and the creation of new reporting guidelines for agency 2020 Chief FOIA Officer Reports. As detailed in the 2019 Report, in addition to direct one-on-one counseling, OIP hosted and facilitated numerous training programs and briefings on the FOIA, and offered training for over 2,000 registered attendees. The Report also summarizes the many resources that OIP makes available online, such as the recently updated DOJ Guide to the FOIA, searchable summaries of court decisions, and information about FOIA news and events published in the FOIA Post blog.
The 2019 Report also details OIP’s work in continuing to maintain and enhance the National FOIA Portal on FOIA.gov that allows the public to submit a request to any Federal agency from a single site. The Director of OIP also continued serving on the FOIA Federal Advisory Committee and as co-chair of the Chief FOIA Officers Council.
Along with the narrative portion of the report, every year OIP compiles charts listing the FOIA litigation cases received and decided during the reporting year. As in previous years, OIP again provides these charts in both PDF and open (CSV) formats.
OIP invites both agencies and the public to review its 2019 Litigation and Compliance Report to learn more about all of our efforts to encourage agency compliance with the FOIA. OIP looks forward to building on these efforts as we continue to work with agencies and the public to improve the overall administration of the FOIA in the years ahead.