White House Formally Says “None Of Your Business” To FOIA Requests For Administrative Office Documents



In the midst of all the scandals “The Most Transparent Administration in History” is delivering, the people at the White House announced new rules for fulfilling Freedom of Information Act requests.  They’ve officially exempted the administrative office.

The White House on Tuesday will announce new rules exempting an administrative office from subjection to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which allows citizens to obtain government documents from federal agencies.

In a Federal Register notice scheduled to publish Tuesday morning, the action to exempt the Office of Administration is listed as a final rule, which means there will be no opportunity for public comment. It formalizes a longstanding policy for the office that was upheld in multiple courts.

In practice, this exemption has been in place since the Bush 43 Administration and has survived court challenges from various interested parties requesting millions of documents not necessarily related to specific issues.  It covers the Executive Office including the Chief of Staff, Office of Management and Budget, and Council of Economic Advisors.  What makes this move fascinating to those who regularly sue the federal government on FOIA grounds is that it happened during Sunshine Week, the time when access to government documents by law is celebrated, and watchdog groups press their missions with the people.

 “It’s a little tone deaf to do this on Sunshine Week, even if it’s an administrative housecleaning,” Sunshine in Government coordinator Rick Blum told USA Today.

That would be one of the bigger understatements of the year.  This is not a new rule, exactly, but not the best of times to be announcing it.

About the Author

Cultural Limits
A resident of Flyover Country, Cultural Limits is a rare creature in American Conservatism - committed to not just small government, Christianity and traditional social roles, but non-profits and high arts and culture. Watching politics, observing human behavior and writing are all long-time interests. In her other life, CL writes romance novels under her nom de plume, Patricia Holden (@PatriciaHoldenAuthor on Facebook), and crochets like a mad woman (designs can be found on Facebook @BohemianFlairCrochet and on Pinterest on the Bohemian Flair Crochet board). In religion, CL is Catholic; in work, the jill of all trades when it comes to fundraising software manipulation and event planning; in play, a classically trained soprano and proud citizen of Cardinal Nation, although, during hockey season, Bleeds Blue. She lives in the Mid-Mississippi River Valley with family and two cute and charming tyrants...make that toy dogs.