Attorney General Issues New FOIA Guidelines for Federal Agencies

March 17, 2022

Earlier this week, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced new Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Guidelines designed to strengthen the federal government's commitment to transparency in government operations and the fair and effective administration of the FOIA.

The Attorney General's new FOIA Guidelines direct the heads of all executive branch departments and agencies to apply a presumption of openness in administering the FOIA and make clear that the Department of Justice will not defend nondisclosure decisions that fail to do so.  Additionally, the Guidelines emphasize the importance of proactive disclosures and highlight Department’s efforts to encourage proactive agency disclosures.

Further, the new Guidelines direct agencies to continue efforts to remove barriers to requesting and accessing government records and to reduce FOIA backlogs. Finally, the Guidelines note the key role played by agency Chief FOIA Officers who report to the Department each year on their progress in improving FOIA administration and also direct agencies to training and guidance issued by the Office of Information Policy (OIP) designed to help ensure proper training and compliance with FOIA across the federal government.

OIP looks forward to providing guidance, support, and training to agencies as they implement the new FOIA Guidelines. 

Topic(s): 
FOIA

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Updated March 17, 2022