"By restoring the presumption of disclosure that is at the heart of the Freedom of Information Act, we are making a critical change that will restore the public’s ability to access information in a timely manner ... The American people have the right to information about their government’s activities, and these new guidelines will ensure they are able to obtain that information under principles of openness and transparency."
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So, the Editor contacted his U.S. Senator, Dick Durbin and asked for assistance. In a letter to Senator Dick Durbin, dated August 22, 2016, Executive Officer William N. Taylor II, explained that the Office of the Pardon Attorney (OPA) was just too busy for FOIA stuff. He said the OPA "has been unable to process many FOIA requests" or even so much as "respond" - at all - to "non-case related correspondence of any kind." Taylor condescendingly noted that he can "appreciate" an "inquiry" here and there, and the "desire for information." But he insisted that it was simply "impossible at this time" to respond to such requests. Mr. Taylor anticipated that, "at the end of the Administration," the Office of the Pardon Attorney will "once again begin processing pending FOIA requests."
Yes, he actually wrote that!
This past Thursday, Mr. Taylor contacted the Editor directly, via email, and announced the Office of the Pardon Attorney had actually used tax payer dollars to create a new "electronic case management system" that is such an improvement on 80s technology that information once easily accessible is now buried in the "system" and it "would be quite an expensive undertaking" if not futuristic "custom" development to fulfill FOIA requests that used to take 1-2 weeks at most to receive, acknowledge and fulfill. Moving those mountains is just not "something [Taylor] would be able to approve at this time."
That's progress! Is it no wonder that OPA has a problem obtaining funding.
greatest last-minute clemency surge in history, the OPA is, now, very much, not operating under a presumption of disclosure.
Never thought we would say it ... but ... we sure miss Eric Holder ... George W. Bush ... and the old Barack Obama, for that matter! This awkward policy change must be part of the mysterious "revamp" we all heard about years back. We thought our right to records (including electronic records) was determined by the FOIA, not whether OPA “approves” of making info public.