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Archive for Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act

Originally enacted on July 4, 1966, the Freedom of Information Act established a statutory right of public access to Executive Branch information held by the federal government.  The FOIA provides that any person has a right, enforceable in court, to obtain access to federal agency records under the Act, except to the extent that any portions of those records are protected from public disclosure by an exemption under the statute.

Sometimes referred to as the embodiment of “the people’s right to know” about the activities and operations of government, the FOIA established a presumption of public access to information held by executive branch departments and agencies. In introducing the predecessor to the originally enacted FOIA, then-Senator Long quoted Madison, who was the chair of the committee that drafted the first amendment to the Constitution:

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