Early Departure of FOIA Ombud Stirs Unresolved Concerns

May 25, 2016

Jim Holzer, head of the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), a post often called the FOIA Ombudsman, has decided to step down after less than a year on the job. Some Freedom of Information Act advocates are seeing this as a discouraging sign.

Politico's Josh Gerstein pretty much broke the story in a May 6, 2016, post. Holzer will return to the Department of Homeland Security. OGIS has played an important role mediating disputes between FOIA requesters and federal agencies reluctant to disclose.

Lauren Harper, posting May 12 in the "Unredacted" blog of the National Security Archive, noted that OGIS has been understaffed and does not yet have the independence to make its own recommendations on FOIA matters.

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