April 30, 2013

Ms. Melanie Ann Pustay
Office of Information Policy (OIP)
U.S. Department of Justice
Suite 11050
1425 New York Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
RE: Thank You for Providing FOIA Litigation Data in an Open Format
Dear Ms. Pustay:

The undersigned organizations, concerned with government openness and accountability, are writing to thank you for providing data on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) cases in an open, machine-readable format as part of the 2012 FOIA Litigation and Compliance Report.

These lists, which the Department of Justice is required by law to prepare annually, provide important information to the public about litigation under the FOIA. These data can be used to inform analyses of agency FOIA compliance and performance, as well as help to illuminate the government's FOIA litigation strategy. Making the lists available in an open format will facilitate such research, and we appreciate your efforts to do so.

We encourage you to further increase the transparency of government activities under FOIA. In particular, the department could enhance the FOIA case lists by:

  • Ensuring that the data reported is accurate,
  • Including a complete listing of agencies involved in each case,
  • Making the data available through FOIA.gov, and
  • Consulting with users of the data to identify additional ways to improve its usefulness.

We hope you take our recommendations into consideration. If you would like to discuss these issues in greater detail, please contact Gavin Baker, Open Government Policy Analyst at the Center for Effective Government, at gbaker@foreffectivegov.org or (202) 234-8494.

American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
American Library Association
Association of Research Libraries
Center for Effective Government (formerly OMB Watch)
Defending Dissent Foundation
Electronic Privacy Information Center
Essential Information
Government Accountability Project
League of Women Voters of Delaware
National Security Archive
Project On Government Oversight
Public Record Media, LLC
Society of American Archivists
Washington Coalition for Open Government
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