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House Subcommittee Approves Carter Bill to Reduce FOIA Backlog at DHS

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Washington, May 13, 2015 | Mary Carpenter (202-834-0386) | comments
The Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency today approved Congressman Earl L. “Buddy” Carter’s (GA-01) DHS FOIA Efficiency Act of 2015. The legislation would require the Chief FOIA Officer at the Department of Homeland Security to improve and streamline the FOIA request process at the department to reduce their backlog and provide greater transparency on costs associated with the FOIA process.

Carter introduced the legislation after a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that DHS has an outstanding number of backlogged FOIA requests due to mismanagement and duplicative efforts between components of the department. At the end of fiscal year 2013, DHS held approximately half of the reported backlogged federal FOIA requests, more than any other federal agency.

“In what is supposed to be the most transparent administration in history, DHS has an abysmal record when it comes to FOIA requests,” said Carter. “It boasts the largest backlog of any federal agency and was given a D+ for its handling of them by an independent watchdog. I am pleased the subcommittee approved this important legislation today moving these desperately needed reforms to improve the process, eliminate duplication and significantly reduce the backlog while increasing transparency and accountability to the public one step closer to reality.”

H.R. 1615, the DHS FOIA Efficiency Act of 2015, was introduced as part of a greater legislative initiative from the House Committee on Homeland Security to curb waste, fraud, abuse and increased transparency at the DHS.

Carter’s legislation will now be considered by the full Committee on Homeland Security. Full text of the legislation as introduced can be found here.
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