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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

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What is the Freedom of Information Act?

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was passed by Congress in 1966 and became effective on July 4, 1967. Congress wanted to ensure that the public has access to the records of the Executive Branch of the United States Government. Before the FOIA in 1966, the burden was on the individual to establish a right to examine government records.

With the passage of the FOIA, the burden of proof shifted from the individual to the Government. Those seeking information are no longer required to show a need for information. The Government now has to justify its reasons for not releasing requested records.

The FOIA sets standards for determining which records must be made available for public inspection and which records can be withheld from disclosure. The law also provides administrative and judicial remedies for those denied access to records. Above all, the statute requires federal agencies to provide the fullest possible disclosure of information to the public.

The following links provide additional information on the FOIA:

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Reading Room

To view FOIA records in person, please make arrangements by calling (202) 720-5212

FOIA Requester Service Center and FOIA Public Liaison

FOIA Requester Service Center
The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (OASCR) FOIA Requester Service Center was established in compliance with Executive Order 13392 - Improving Agency Disclosure of Information. The FOIA Requester Service Center is the initial point of contact for FOIA requesters to obtain information concerning the status of their request, and information about the agency's FOIA response. For more information contact:

FOIA Requester Service Center
Telephone number: (202) 720-5212
Fax: (202) 690-7442

FOIA Public Liaison
Requesters who have concerns about the service they are receiving from the OASCR FOIA Requester Service Center may raise their concerns with our FOIA Public Liaison:

Carl-Martin Ruiz
Telephone number: (202) 720-5212
Fax: (202) 720-0953