A much needed change

Some of my FOIA requests to PNNL are over two years old. And even after I won an appeal from an early denial they still are refusing to send me the data. We’ll, not exactly refusing. Every week when my lawyer calls them up asks what the status is they say, “I’ll have to get back to you on that.” And, of course, they don’t. Repeat the next week.

In another case, in response to a FOIA request, they deleted a bunch of material (I found out via a late night anonymous phone call) and told me they did a “thorough search” and no such documents were found. My lawyer reworded the request and resubmitted it. They ignored both it and my congress critter’s repeated requests to comply.

Remember the batch of requests I made almost seven weeks ago? They had 20 business days to respond and I’ve not received even a “go pound sand” response. Like I have said before they think the law doesn’t apply to them.

This may make it easier for me to change their tune:

The Senate on Friday unanimously approved a measure that would extend the open-government requirements of the Freedom of Information Act to private contractors and increase penalties for federal agencies that do not comply.


Sens. Patrick Leahy and John Cornyn, R-Texas, sponsored the legislation to speed agency responses and compel the government to more accurately track pending requests. The legislation was blocked from a floor vote for months because Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and the Justice Department objected to several provisions.

One would have allowed requesters who file lawsuits to recover their attorney fees. Under the compromise, a requester would be able to recover the fees unless the claim is found to be “wholly insubstantial.”


Other provisions would extend FOIA compliance to private contractors who keep records on government work and would protect fee waivers for “legitimate journalists, regardless of institutional association.” That means waivers would apply to bloggers and others based on the Internet.