S. 2520, or the FOIA Improvement Act of 2014, is that rare bill that does exactly what you think it does - it sharpens the tools we use to hold the government accountable.
Specifically, it “establishes a presumption in favor of disclosure,” putting the onus on the agency to effectively argue for exemption, rather than on the requester to argue for release.
The bill has had bipartisan support from the get-go, and passed both the House and the Senate unanimously. The latter was a bit hairier, with Sen. Jay Rockefeller maintaining a hold on it for debatably dubious grounds, but the efforts of open government activists seemed to get through to him, and the hold was released. From there, it was just one more easy vote, and then on to the president.
Then, late last evening, word came that members of the banking lobby were objecting the bill, urging that it not be brought to a vote. As of now, the bill is still not on the House’s calendar, and if it doesn’t make it there by the end of the day, it dies.
Here’s what you can do.
Contact Speaker of the House John Boehner and let him know that you support open government, and urge that S.2520 be brought to vote.
Phone: (202) 225-0600
Contact House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and let them know that unanimous, bipartisan support should not be trumped by big banks.
Kevin McCarthy Phone: (202) 225-2915
Nancy Pelosi Phone: (202) 225-4965
Let your friends and family know - whether you’re a die-hard FOIA fanatic, or just somebody who feels that you have a right to know what the government is doing, we need your help, and we need it now.