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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Background and Policy Options for the 112th Congress

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Background and Policy Options for the 112th Congress

Date: July 26, 2011
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy
Description: The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA; 5 U.S.C. §552) enables any person to access—without explanation or justification—certain existing, identifiable, unpublished, executive branch agency records. Pursuant to FOIA, the public has presumptive access to requested agency records unless the material falls within any of FOIA's nine categories of exemption from disclosure. This report discusses FOIA's history, examines its implementation, and provides potential policy approaches for Congress.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Background and Policy Options for the 113th Congress

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Background and Policy Options for the 113th Congress

Date: March 8, 2013
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy
Description: This report provides background on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), discusses the categories of records FOIA exempts from public release, and analyzes statistics on FOIA administration. The report also provides background on several legal and policy issues related to FOIA, including the release of controversial records, the growth in use of certain FOIA exemptions, and the adoption of new technologies to improve FOIA administration. The report concludes with an examination of potential FOIA-related policy options for Congress.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Access to Government Information in the United States: A Primer

Access to Government Information in the United States: A Primer

Date: March 18, 2016
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy & Greene, Michael
Description: This report offers an introduction to the four access laws and provides citations to additional resources related to these statutes. It includes statistics on the use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and on litigation related to FOIA. In addition, this report provides some examples of the methods Congress, the President, and the courts have employed to provide or require the provision of information to one another, as well as a list of resources related to transparency, secrecy, access, and nondisclosure.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Access to Government Information in the United States

Access to Government Information in the United States

Date: August 31, 2009
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy R.
Description: The U.S. Constitution makes no specific allowance for any one of the three branches of the federal government to have access to information held by the others. No provision in the U.S. Constitution expressly establishes a procedure for public access to government information. Congress has legislated various public access laws. Among these laws are two records access statutes, The Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, and two meetings access statutes, the Federal Advisory Committee Act, and the Government in the Sunshine Act. This report offers an overview of the four information access laws noted above, and provides citations to additional resources related to these tools.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Access to Government Information In the United States: A Primer

Access to Government Information In the United States: A Primer

Date: August 31, 2009
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy R.
Description: The U.S. Constitution makes no specific allowance for any one of the three branches of the federal government to have access to information held by the others. No provision in the U.S. Constitution expressly establishes a procedure for public access to government information. Congress has legislated various public access laws. Among these laws are two records access statutes, The Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, and two meetings access statutes, the Federal Advisory Committee Act, and the Government in the Sunshine Act. This report offers an overview of the four information access laws noted above, and provides citations to additional resources related to these tools.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Background, Legislation, and Policy Issues

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Background, Legislation, and Policy Issues

Date: January 23, 2014
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy R.
Description: This report provides background on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), discusses the categories of records FOIA exempts from public release, and analyzes statistics on FOIA administration. It also provides background on several legal and policy issues related to FOIA, including the release of controversial records, the growth in use of certain FOIA exemptions, and the adoption of new technologies to improve FOIA administration. The report concludes with an examination of potential FOIA-related policy options for the 113th Congress.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Issues for the 111th Congress

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Issues for the 111th Congress

Date: August 12, 2009
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy R.
Description: This report includes a brief history of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), discusses subsequent modifications of FOIA, addresses statutory changes to FOIA that have not yet been implemented, examines Obama Administration efforts to modify the act, and outlines possible legislative issues related to the act.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Obama Administration's Open Government Initiative: Issues for Congress

The Obama Administration's Open Government Initiative: Issues for Congress

Date: August 17, 2010
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy R.
Description: This report reviews and discusses President Obama's Open Government Initiative and the Open Government Directive. The report then analyzes both agency response to the OGI and the OGD, and examines whether the OGD's requirements can meet the stated goals of the Administration. The report discusses the three central tenets of the Administration's OGD--transparency, public participation, and collaboration--and analyzes each one individually to determine whether agencies are meeting these requirements and whether the requirements may improve the effectiveness of the federal government.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Obama Administration's Open Government Initiative: Issues for Congress

The Obama Administration's Open Government Initiative: Issues for Congress

Date: August 9, 2010
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy R.
Description: This report reviews and discusses President Obama's Open Government Initiative and the Open Government Directive. The report then analyzes both agency response to the OGI and the OGD, and examines whether the OGD's requirements can meet the stated goals of the Administration. The report discusses the three central tenets of the Administration's OGD--transparency, public participation, and collaboration--and analyzes each one individually to determine whether agencies are meeting these requirements and whether the requirements may improve the effectiveness of the federal government.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Obama Administration's Open Government Initiative: Issues for Congress

The Obama Administration's Open Government Initiative: Issues for Congress

Date: January 28, 2011
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy R.
Description: This report reviews the objectives delineated in President Obama's Open Government Initiative (OGI) and examines the expectations placed on agencies to meet these objectives. This report reviews department and agency attempts to implement Obama Administration initiatives that seek to make the federal government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative. The report then analyzes options for congressional action in this area.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Presidential Libraries Act and the Establishment of Presidential Libraries

The Presidential Libraries Act and the Establishment of Presidential Libraries

Date: February 6, 2015
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy R.; Lunder, Erika K. & Richardson, Daniel J.
Description: This report details the legislative history of the Presidential Libraries Act and examines information on existing library facilities and their locations, organizational characteristics, and outreach efforts. It also analyzes legislative options for the act, including increasing endowment requirements for the library foundations and clearly delineating the relationship between the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the libraries' supporting organizations.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Military Service Records and Unit Histories: A Guide to Locating Sources

Military Service Records and Unit Histories: A Guide to Locating Sources

Date: September 1, 2006
Creator: Gomez-Granger, Julissa & Klarman, Kim Walker
Description: This report is a guide to locating individual service records and military unit histories from the American Revolution to the present. This guide provides referral information for locating individual service records of discharged and deceased veterans. It includes information regarding locating and obtaining active service records. Also included are relevant addresses and websites of government agencies, historical associations, and a select bibliography.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Military Service Records and Unit Histories: A Guide to Locating Sources

Military Service Records and Unit Histories: A Guide to Locating Sources

Date: September 1, 2006
Creator: Gomez-Granger, Julissa & Klarman, Kim Walker
Description: This report is a guide to locating individual service records and military unit histories from the American Revolution to the present.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Military Service Records and Unit Histories: A Guide to Locating Sources

Military Service Records and Unit Histories: A Guide to Locating Sources

Date: September 1, 2006
Creator: Gomez-Granger, Julissa & Klarman, Kim Walker
Description: This report is a guide to locating individual service records and military unit histories from the American Revolution to the present.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Military Service Records and Unit Histories: A Guide to Locating Sources

Military Service Records and Unit Histories: A Guide to Locating Sources

Date: June 15, 2010
Creator: Gomez-Granger, Julissa & Leland, Anne
Description: This report provides information on locating military unit histories and individual service records of discharged, retired, and deceased military personnel. It includes contact information for military history centers, websites for additional sources of research, and a bibliography of other publications.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Military Service Records and Unit Histories: A Guide to Locating Sources

Military Service Records and Unit Histories: A Guide to Locating Sources

Date: December 16, 2009
Creator: Gomez-Granger, Julissa & Leland, Anne
Description: This report provides information on locating military unit histories and individual service records of discharged, retired, and deceased military personnel. It includes contact information for military history centers, websites for additional sources of research, and a bibliography of other publications.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Military Service Records and Unit Histories: A Guide to Locating Sources

Military Service Records and Unit Histories: A Guide to Locating Sources

Date: July 26, 2012
Creator: Gomez-Granger, Julissa & Leland, Anne
Description: This guide provides information on locating military unit histories and individual service records of discharged, retired, and deceased military personnel. It includes contact information for military history centers, websites for additional sources of research, and a bibliography of other publications.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Publishing Scientific Papers with Potential Security Risks: Issues for Congress

Publishing Scientific Papers with Potential Security Risks: Issues for Congress

Date: July 12, 2012
Creator: Gottron, Frank & Shea, Dana A.
Description: This report discusses the publication of federally-funded research results including positive aspects (wide dissemination that may drive innovation, job creation, technology development, and the advance of science), and the negatives (that some research results could also be used for malicious purposes). This report describes the underlying controversy, the potential benefits and harms of publishing these manuscripts, the actions taken by domestic and international stakeholders, and options to improve the way research is handled to minimize security concerns.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Interest Groups and Lobbyists: Sources of Information

Interest Groups and Lobbyists: Sources of Information

Date: July 18, 2002
Creator: Greenfield, Susan Watkins
Description: Interest groups, including those who actively lobby, continue to play a role in the American legislative process. After years of congressional efforts to improve disclosure of interest groups, the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) of 1995 (P.L. 104-65) and the Lobbying Disclosure Technical Amendments Act of 1997 (P.L. 105-166) were signed into law on December 19, 1995, and April 6, 1998, respectively. Both laws seek greater disclosure of interest groups’ activities and more accuracy in reporting their spending. Information on lobbyist registrations and on interest groups in general is available from a variety of online and printed sources, including files available for public inspection. This report provides a list of directories and online services that offer background on the interest groups and lobbyists who focus on legislation in Washington.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act: Implementation and Proposed Amendments

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act: Implementation and Proposed Amendments

Date: October 22, 2008
Creator: Hatch, Garrett L.
Description: This report initially discusses the background of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA). It then discusses the act's provisions, noting what types of assistance are part of the new website, the primary sources of the data, and deadlines for implementation. The report then identifies and discusses issues that have been raised regarding the act that might affect its implementation. Finally, it examines legislation proposed in the 110th Congress that would significantly expand the information accessible through USAspending.gov.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (S. 2590): Overview and Comparison with H.R. 5060

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (S. 2590): Overview and Comparison with H.R. 5060

Date: September 11, 2006
Creator: Hatch, Garrett L.
Description: In an attempt to expand oversight of federal spending, including earmarks, S. 2590 would provide the public with access to an online database containing information about entities that are awarded federal grants, loans, and contracts. This report summarizes S. 2590, compares it to H.R. 5060, and outlines the arguments in favor of the bill and those critical of it. The final section discusses the implications of using the Federal Assistance Award Data System (FAADS) and the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) to populate the bill’s proposed database.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Where to Get Publications from The Executive and Independent Agencies: A Directory of Sources for Official Documents

Where to Get Publications from The Executive and Independent Agencies: A Directory of Sources for Official Documents

Date: January 21, 1997
Creator: Hays, Janet & Brudno, Deborah C
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Protection of Classified Information by Congress: Practices and Proposals

Protection of Classified Information by Congress: Practices and Proposals

Date: January 5, 2005
Creator: Kaiser, Frederick M
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Protection of Classified Information by Congress: Practices and Proposals

Protection of Classified Information by Congress: Practices and Proposals

Date: January 11, 2006
Creator: Kaiser, Frederick M
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department