MARCH 16, 2015
The White House Office of Administration, which is responsible for presidential record-keeping, will no longer be subjected to the Freedom of Information Act. The White House, which made that change, said court rulings reaffirm its decision that this office does not need to be subjected to FOIA regulations. However, an appeals court ruled that the White House must release emails from this office in accordance with the Presidential Records Act; these emails can only be released five years after the administration ended. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the White House claimed that this administration has advanced transparency efforts in the past six years.
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, offered commentary on this new decision:
“This is an office that operated under the FOIA for 30 years, and when it became politically inconvenient, they decided they weren’t subject to the Freedom of Information Act any more,” said Tom Fitton of the conservative Judicial Watch. In 2009, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled that the Office of Administration was not subject to the FOIA, “because it performs only operational and administrative tasks in support of the president and his staff and therefore, under our precedent, lacks substantial independent authority.”