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Queltry181 karma

I'm also an attorney, from the other side (generally speaking, not doj). Normally, FOIA isn't my thing, but I've dabbled in it(multiple years ago), as the workloads of the foia lawyers became completely overwhelming at a past job. Nothing of great importance, since I was just backup.

But there's a clear problem with foia right now. Its broken, for several reasons. A couple of well known advocacy groups use it to clog up agency operations with literal mountains of requests for everything and the kitchen sink, and then promptly disappear and switch out for other advocacy groups when the administration changes. On top of that, genuine oversight groups seek quite a bit of information as well, though for you know, actual oversight reasons. As a taxpayer, I want this openness to continue. But these two buckets of requestors, plus legions of individual requestors have created an enormous backlog, where you basically have to sue just to get timely documents, because the backlog of requests is so high, that only a court order can prioritize a request. This puts lower-resource requesters at a disadvantage because they can't pay for a federal court case.

Moreover, the time lines for requests were set decades ago, before volumes of emails and files were kept. Now request for emails on a specific issue could be hundreds of thousands of pages

The burden to meet timelines is effectively impossible at current levels of staffing, and it's common knowledge that foia is a thankless assignment in the federal government that few last in. I routinely see foia positions go unfilled for months on USAjobs.

The system is broken. I don't want to end foia, because it's a critical part of government oversight. But it seems no one is happy with it works now. If you could change the legislation, how would you, to improve the flow of information or fix other issues?

Are there any non-legislative fixes, or practices that the government could realistically adopt to improve things in your view?

I'm thrilled to be out of the FOIA world, but its one of those government administration topics that's fascinating to keep up on in an academic sense.