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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Bill Would Bring Smithsonian Within FOIA

The Washington Post reports on the rarest of rarities: an attempt to bring something within the FOIA...

A longtime critic of the Smithsonian Institution introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate this week that would wipe out the national museum complex's exemption from the Freedom of Information Act and the Sunshine Act.

The legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Finance Committee, and Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, would require the Smithsonian to hold meetings in public and make records available to the public upon request.

The Smithsonian, created by Congress as a federal trust, was exempted from FOIA in two rulings in the mid-1990s. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decided FOIA would apply to the Smithsonian only if Congress changed the law to say so explicitly.

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