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Department of Justice Holding Sunshine Week Celebration to Commemorate the Second Anniversary of Attorney General Holder's FOIA Guidelines

March 7, 2011
Two years ago, during Sunshine Week 2009, Attorney General Holder issued new FOIA Guidelines designed to usher in a new era of open government.  The Attorney General’s FOIA Guidelines directed agencies to take a number of steps to ensure that the FOIA is administered with a presumption of openness.  The Attorney General strongly encouraged agencies to make discretionary disclosures of information and to not withhold records simply because they technically fit within a FOIA exemption.  He also directed agencies to make partial disclosures of records whenever full releases are not possible. Beyond these principles related to application of the presumption of openness, the Attorney General stressed that each agency must ensure that it has an effective system in place to respond to requests.  He emphasized that a broad array of agency personnel have key roles in assisting in the FOIA process, including IT specialists.  The Attorney General also directed agencies to work to disclose records proactively, in advance of requests, and when requests are made, to respond to them in a timely manner. Agencies across the government have embraced these principles.  On March 8, 2011, agencies will be posting their second Chief FOIA Officer Reports which detail the steps they have taken to carry out the Attorney General’s directives.  Those reports will address five distinct areas; steps taken to apply the presumption of openness, steps taken to ensure that the agency has an effective system in place for responding to requests, steps taken to increase proactive disclosures, data on agency use of technology, and steps taken to reduce any backlogs and to improve timeliness. To commemorate the Second Anniversary of the Attorney General's FOIA Guidelines and completion of the second Chief FOIA Officer Reports, the Department of Justice is holding a celebration on Monday, March 14, 2011, the first day of Sunshine Week.  As occurred last year, the program will spotlight selected agencies’ success stories in implementing the new FOIA Guidelines and increasing transparency overall. The details for this event are: Department of Justice Sunshine Week Celebration March 14, 2011 Department of Justice Great Hall 10th and Constitution Avenue, NW 10:00 am This event is open to both agency personnel and members of the public Registration is required to attend this event.  If you are interested in attending, please e-mail your name and phone number to OIP's Training Officer, Bertina Adams Cleveland, at DOJ.OIP.FOIA@usdoj.gov.  Please note that you must present picture identification to enter the building.  If you have any questions regarding this event, please contact Ms. Adams at (202) 514-1010.

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Updated August 6, 2014