Just in time for sunshine week, Attorney General Eric Holder declares that government records should henceforth be presumed public.
Attorney General Eric Holder’s much anticipated memo on new Freedom of Information Act general guidelines is a hit with sunshine advocates.
That’s because it rescinds the Bush administration’s information withholding standard, which was set by former Attorney General John Ashcroft on October 12, 2001, just one month after the September 11 attacks, and five days after the US invaded Afghanistan.
By contrast, Holder's memo orders that government agency records should be presumed public.
In so doing, Holder follows through on statements that President Barack Obama made on his second day in office and sets the tone for how executive agencies interpret and administer FOIA.
FOIA remains one of the most important tools available to the public and the press, in terms of finding out what the federal government is, and has been, up to.
"The Holder memo is a refreshing change from the disastrous standard set by former Attorney General John Ashcroft in 2001," said Reporters Committee Executive Director Lucy A. Dalglish. "We hope it empowers federal employers who manage these public records to improve their services to the taxpayers who request them."