Launch of New Freedom of Information Act Website Another Step Toward Greater Transparency

-For Immediate Release-
October 1, 2012

Contact: Brian Gumm, (202) 683-4812,

Launch of New Freedom of Information Act Website Another Step Toward Greater Transparency

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2012—The federal government today launched a new website that could speed processing of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and release more information to the public. OMB Watch praised the site, called FOIAonline (, and urged agencies across the government to take advantage of this new transparency tool.

Katherine McFate, President and CEO of OMB Watch, said, "FOIAonline represents a major advance in bringing the federal freedom of information system into the 21st century. OMB Watch has been advocating for such tools for years, and we're pleased the government has put this centralized website in place."

Developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the Commerce Department, the FOIAonline portal allows the public to submit and track requests, receive responses, and search others’ requests through a single website. When information is released through the system, it will be posted online for everyone to see, making more information directly available to the public and eliminating the need for multiple requests for the same information.

FOIAonline also gives agencies the opportunity to consult with each other through the system when they need to collaborate on requests and can help agencies automate certain request tasks. This should help speed up processing and bring down the number of backlogged FOIA requests.

In addition to EPA, NARA, and the Department of Commerce, the Department of the Treasury, the Merit Systems Protection Board, and the Federal Labor Relations Authority are initially participating in the FOIAonline system.

"FOIAonline should prove to be a powerful tool for transparency," McFate added. "We strongly encourage other agencies throughout the government to participate and use the portal."

A more in-depth analysis of FOIAonline is available at

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OMB Watch is a nonprofit research and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting government accountability and effectiveness and increasing citizen engagement. Find OMB Watch on Facebook and Twitter.

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