Congressional Response Report: Freedom of Information Act Response Process

Friday, August 21, 2015
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Audit Report
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The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) establishes a legal right of access to federal agency records based on the principles of openness and accountability in government. Enacted in 1966, FOIA gives any person the right to request records created by federal agencies. On January 21, 2009, the President issued two memoranda, Transparency and Open Government and Freedom of Information Act. Both documents focused on increasing the amount of information made public by the Government.

In a September 2010 report, we concluded that SSA’s political appointees were sometimes made aware of, or reviewed, information requests; however, there was no evidence of FOIA information requests being detoured, unusually scrutinized, delayed, or hindered by SSA political appointees.

The objective of this report was to determine whether non-career officials SSA were involved in the FOIA response process and, if so, whether their involvement resulted in undue delays of responses or withholding of documentation or portions of documentation that would have otherwise been released without their involvement.