"Dems Request More Funds To Beef Up Interior FOIA Office"

"Democratic lawmakers are asking appropriators to provide more funding so the Interior Department can hire more staff to handle public information requests.

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Reps. TJ Cox (D-Calif.) and Harley Rouda (D-Calif.) are requesting that the House Appropriations Committee allocate enough funds to hire “at least” 10 new full-time staff for the Interior Department’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) office.

Response times for FOIA requests are increasing, sparking an outcry from journalists, environmental organizations and lawmakers. Under FOIA law, government agencies must respond to requests within 20 days or could face a lawsuit, a route some organizations have chosen to take under the Trump administration.

According to the Interior Department, the agency has experienced a 30 percent increase in FOIA requests since Trump took office. More than 100 cases are currently being litigated, the agency said."

Miranda Green reports for The Hill April 12, 2019.

Source: The Hill, 04/15/2019