Politicians and service contractors pay heavily for advice from consultants, who provide detailed information on what the government is doing. Depending on the size of the requests, the cost can be nominal, even free. These companies then turn around to sell this information to the public at a premium. It is this industry that accounts for nearly 75 percent of all records requested under the FOIA.
The bipartisan legislation passed by the House on January 11 (and now headed to the Senate) decreases the amount of exemptions agencies can use to withhold information, as well as direct them to make all non-exempt records available electronically. By creating a digital archive, these documents would be accessible easily and quickly and, most importantly, for free. By reducing the cost and time to get the information, the public can be more easily informed. Most importantly, for-profit companies will no longer be able to corrupt the process and interfere with Americans’ hard won right to know.
Thanks. God bless.