FOIA Update: A.G. Memo on Reform Act Issued

January 1, 1988
FOIA Update
Vol. IX, No. 1

A.G. Memo on Reform Act Issued

A valuable new FOIA reference guidebook, the "Attorney General's Memorandum on the 1986 Amendments to the Freedom of Information Act," has been published by the Department of Justice and is now widely available throughout the federal government.

Like previous such Attorney General's memoranda before it, this publication is designed to serve as the principal reference guide to the implementation of the provisions of the Freedom of Information Reform Act of 1986, Pub. L. No. 99-570, 100 Stat. 3207, 3207-48 (1986). While its primary focus is upon the law enforcement amendments of the FOIA Reform Act, it contains the policy guidance pertinent to all of the Reform Act's provisions.

The major part of the publication consists of detailed discussions of the Reform Act's amendments to Exemption 7 and its special law enforcement record exclusions established in new FOIA subsection (c). More than half of this guidance is devoted to the operation of the new exclusion mechanism, which necessarily poses some novel implementation concerns. It stresses that agencies should implement the Reform Act's exclusions with the utmost care, especially where agency employees are unfamiliar with the exclusion mechanism, and that they should do so only upon close consultation with the Office of Information and Privacy.

Also included with the publication is the Office of Management and Budget's "Uniform Freedom of Information Act Fee Schedule and Guidelines" and the Department of Justice's "New FOIA Fee Waiver Policy Guidance," which provide policy guidance on the implementation of the Reform Act's fee and fee waiver provisions, respectively. The final part of the package is a copy of the FOIA in its amended form, interlineated to show the exact statutory modifications made by the Reform Act amendments.

Copies of this reference publication have been distributed by the Department of Justice to the heads of all federal departments and agencies, to the principal FOIA legal and administrative contacts at all agencies, to all agency recipients of FOIA Update, and to other interested offices in the executive and legislative branches.

Additional copies are available through the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402 (Stock No. 027-000-01298-1). The Government Printing Office (202/783-3238) will offer this publication for public sale at $2.00 per copy and also will distribute it to federal repository libraries nationwide.

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Updated August 13, 2014