As part of the Open Government Partnership, the United States issued its second Open Government National Action Plan (NAP) on December 5, 2013, that sets forth several specific initiatives the Administration would undertake in the coming two years. One flagship initiative includes various efforts to modernize the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), including creating a FOIA Federal Advisory Committee to be “comprised of government and non-governmental members of the FOIA community, to foster dialog between the Administration and the requester community, solicit public comments, and develop consensus recommendations for improving FOIA administration and proactive disclosures.”
Article 1. Purpose.
Article 2. Authority.
Article 3. Membership.
Article 4. Meetings.
Article 5. Voting.
Article 6. Committee Officers and Responsibilities.
Article 7. Records.
Article 8. Committee Expenses.
Article 9. Amendment of Charter and Bylaws
Article 1. Purpose.
The Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) Advisory Committee (“Committee”) advises on improvements to the FOIA and studies the current FOIA landscape across the Executive Branch. The Committee shall report to the Archivist of the United States (“AOTUS”) and may recommend legislative action, policy changes or executive action, among other matters.
Article 2. Authority.
The Committee was established in accordance with the second United States Open Government National Action Plan released on December 5, 2013, and the directive in the FOIA, 5 U.S.C. § 552(h)(1)(C), that the Office of Government Information Services (“OGIS”) within the National Archives and Records Administration (“NARA”) “recommend policy changes … to improve” FOIA administration. This Committee is subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (“FACA”), the FOIA, and the Government in the Sunshine Act (“GISA”).
Article 3. Membership.
- The Committee will consist of no more than 20 individuals. To ensure balanced representation, NARA will strive to appoint equal numbers of government and non-governmental members. Government members of the Committee should include, at a minimum, three FOIA professionals from Cabinet-level Departments; four FOIA professionals from non-Cabinet agencies; one representative from the Department of Justice, Office of Information Policy; and one representative from NARA. Non-governmental members of the advisory committee will include, at a minimum, three individuals representing the interests of non-governmental organizations that advocate on FOIA matters; two individuals representing the interests of FOIA requesters who qualify for the “all other” FOIA requester fee category; one individual representing the interests of requesters who qualify for the “news media” FOIA requester fee category; one individual representing the interests of requesters who qualify for the “commercial” FOIA requester fee category; one individual representing the interests of historians and history-related organizations; and one individual representing the interests of academia.
Any Federal employees appointed to the Committee must comply with the following guidelines: (1) Federal employees appointed to the Committee must annually file a confidential financial disclosure report with the NARA Office of General Counsel (“NGC”) on or before the date of their first participation in a Committee meeting, (2) Any Federal employees appointed to the Committee will serve on the Committee in their official capacity and exercise their own individual best judgment on behalf of the government in Committee deliberations, free from conflicts of interest.
The Designated Agency Ethics Official (“DAEO”) for NARA has determined that all non-Federal members of the Committee are “representatives” for purposes of federal ethics laws and regulations (rather than Special Government Employees or SGEs), and, thus, do not need to file annual financial disclosure reports. All Representative members must comply with the following guidelines: (1) Representatives appointed to the Committee are expected to provide the Committee with the “interests, views or biases” of a non-governmental entity or recognizable group of stakeholders in the area of FOIA that that member represents, and to exercise their best judgment about the matters under consideration.
Guidance on exercising one’s judgment in Committee deliberations is found in the Office of Government Ethics guidance of 2005 at https://www.archives.gov/files/ogis/assets/05x4.pdf, and the OMB guidance of August 13, 2014 at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-08-13/pdf/2014-19140.pdf.
- Nominations. The Chairperson will solicit and accept nominations for Committee membership. Potential nominees are responsible for complying with any procedures and/or receiving necessary approvals from their agency or organization prior to submitting their name and information for consideration.
- Appointment. The AOTUS shall appoint all Committee members.
- Term of Membership. The term of membership for both Government and Representative members shall be two years. Members may serve successive terms. In the event that a Committee member is unable to serve a full term, no longer meets the requirements under which he or she was appointed, or fails or is unable to participate regularly in Committee work in the eyes of the Chairperson, the Archivist shall appoint a replacement through the process described in Article 3. B. and C. to complete the unexpired portion of that departing member’s term. An appointment letter from the Archivist to each member will convey each member's term.
- Compensation. There will be no compensation for members of the Committee. NARA will not provide travel or per diem compensation.
Article 4. Meetings.
- General. The Committee will meet up to four times per year as called by the Designated Federal Officer (“DFO”). The DFO will set the time and place for meetings and will publish a notice in the Federal Register at least 15 calendar days prior to each meeting.
- Quorum. The Committee will hold meetings only when a quorum is present either in person or via a phone or video conference. For this purpose, a quorum is defined as two-thirds of the 20 members, or 13 members.
- Open Meetings. Unless otherwise determined in advance, all meetings of the Committee will be open to the public. All matters brought before or presented to the Committee during the conduct of an open meeting, including the minutes of the proceedings of an open meeting, shall be available to the public for review or copying.
- Closed Meetings. The Committee will hold closed meetings only in limited circumstances and in accordance with applicable law. If, during the course of an open meeting, matters inappropriate for public disclosure arise during discussions, the Chairperson will order such discussion to cease, and shall schedule it for a closed session. Notices of either full or partial closed meetings will be published in the Federal Register at least 15 calendar days in advance of the meeting.
- Agenda. The DFO, in consultation with the Chairperson, shall approve the agenda for all meetings. OGIS will distribute the agenda to the members prior to each meeting. OGIS will post a copy of the agenda to the Committee’s webpage or subpages at https://ogis.archives.gov/foia-advisory-committee.htm in advance. Any member of the Committee may submit agenda items to the Chairperson or DFO. Non-members, including members of the public may also suggest agenda items to the Chairperson or DFO.
- Conduct of Meetings. The Chairperson will call meetings to order, following which the members will state their presence. The Chairperson will then read or reference the certified minutes of the previous meeting. The Chairperson will make announcements, ask for reports from subcommittees or individual members as previously arranged, open discussion of unfinished business, introduce new business, and invite members to comment on any business. Public oral comment may be invited at any time during the meeting, but most likely at the meeting’s end, unless the meeting notice advised that written comment was to be accepted in lieu of oral comment. Upon completion of the Committee's business, as agreed upon by the members present, the DFO will adjourn the meeting.
- Minutes. The DFO will prepare minutes. The Chairperson will certify the accuracy of the minutes within 90 calendar days. Copies of the minutes will be published on the Committee’s web page once certified. The minutes will include a record of the persons present (including the names of committee members, names of staff, and the names of members of the public from whom written or oral presentations were made) and a description of the matters discussed and conclusions reached, and copies of all reports, recommendations, or other materials received, issued or approved by the Committee.
- Public Comment. Members of the public may attend any meeting, or any portion of a meeting, that is open to the public, and may at the determination of the Chairperson, offer public comment during a meeting. The meeting announcement published in the Federal Register may note that oral comment from the public is excluded and in such circumstances invite written comment as an alternative. Members of the public may submit written statements to the Committee at any time.
- Subcommittee Meetings. The Committee Chairperson, in consultation with the full Committee and with the approval of the DFO, may convene subcommittees, to include subgroups or working groups, to support the Committee’s functions. Each subcommittee shall brief the members of the full Committee on its work, and present any recommendations to the full Committee for deliberation. Each subcommittee shall report directly to the Committee.
Article 5. Voting.
When a decision or recommendation of the Committee is required, the Chairperson shall request a motion for a vote. Any member of the Committee, including the Chairperson, may move that the Committee take a vote. No second after a proper motion shall be required to bring any issue to a vote.
- Voting Eligibility. Only the Chairperson and the members may vote on an issue before the Committee.
- Voting Procedures. The Committee shall vote by a show of hands or a voice vote in the case of members participating by telephone.
- Reporting of Votes. The Chairperson will report to the public the results of any votes. In reporting or using the results of Committee voting, the following terms shall apply: (1) Unanimous Decision: Results when every voting member, except abstentions, is in favor of, or opposed to, a particular motion; (2) General Consensus: Results when at least two-thirds of the total votes cast are in favor of, or are opposed to, a particular motion; (3) General Majority: Results when a majority of the total votes cast are in favor of, or are opposed to, a particular motion.
Article 6. Committee Officers and Responsibilities.
- Chairperson. The Chairperson will: (1) call meetings of the Committee to order; (2) set the meeting agenda; (3) determine a quorum; (4) open and preside over the meetings; and (5) certify meeting minutes.
- Subcommittees. The Committee Chairperson, in consultation with the full Committee and with the approval of the DFO, may convene subcommittees to support the Committee’s functions. All subcommittees will report their work and findings to the Committee for deliberation.
- Subcommittee Co-Chairs. Each formally designated subcommittee shall have two chairs, one Government member and one Representative member from the Committee membership, selected in consultation with the Committee Chairperson and the DFO. Each subcommittee chair shall serve a term as appropriate to the work of the subcommittee. The co-Chairs will: (1) call meetings of the Subcommittee to order; (2) set the meeting agenda; (3) open and preside over the meetings; (4) copy the DFO and alternate on all subcommittee correspondence, and (5) send copies of Subcommittee meeting notes and related materials to the DFO. The DFO will: (1) Approve or call the meeting of the Subcommittee; (2) approve the Subcommittee meeting agenda; (3) attend Subcommittee meetings; (4) Adjourn Subcommittee meetings; and (5) Chair Subcommittee meetings when so directed by the Committee Chairperson or Subcommittee co-Chairs.
- Designated Federal Officer. The FACA requires each advisory committee to have a DFO and an alternate, one of whom must be present for all meetings. OGIS staff serves as the DFO and alternate for the Committee. Any meeting held without the DFO or alternate present will be considered as a subcommittee, subgroup, or working group meeting. The DFO will: (1) call the meeting of the Committee or Subcommittee(s); (2) approve the agenda for all meetings; (3) attend the meetings of the Committee and Subcommittee(s); (4) adjourn the meeting of the committee or Subcommittee(s); and (5) chair any meeting when so directed by the AOTUS.
- Committee Staff. The NARA staff shall serve as the Committee staff on an as-needed basis, and shall provide all services normally performed by such staff. NARA Office of General Counsel will provide ethics program support to the Committee.
Article 7. Records.
Records presented to the Committee by any method at any time, including those distributed during the course of a meeting, are part of the official Committee files, and become NARA agency records within the meaning of the FOIA, and are subject to the provisions of that Act.
Committee records shall be available for public inspection and copying in accordance with Section 10(b) of the FACA, which “provide[s] for the contemporaneous availability of advisory committee records that, when taken in conjunction with the ability to attend advisory committee meetings, provide a meaningful opportunity to comprehend fully the work undertaken by the advisory committee.”
Committee members should preserve records, including correspondence exchanged between Committee members, stakeholders, and/or agency committee staff (such as the DFO), that document Committee activities. Committee members must copy the DFO on all Committee and Subcommittee correspondence to simplify recordkeeping.
NARA will post as many Committee documents as is feasible to the Committee’s webpage or subpages at https://ogis.archives.gov/foia-advisory-committee.htm.
Article 8. Committee Expenses.
NARA will cover committee expenses, such as facility, staffing, and transcription services. NARA will not provide compensation, travel or per diem compensation for members. NARA will not provide funds for meals or refreshments.
Article 9. Amendment of Charter and Bylaws.
Amendments to the Charter and Bylaws of the Committee must conform to the requirements of the FACA and be agreed to by two-thirds of the 20 members. The DFO shall confirm that all Committee members have confirmed receipt of any proposed amendment before any vote to amend the Charter or Bylaws.
Archivist of the United States David Ferriero appointed 20 members to the FOIA Advisory Committee in May 2014. The Committee consists of members from within the Federal government and 10 non-governmental members who have considerable FOIA expertise and who were selected to achieve a balanced representation. Committee members are appointed to serve a two-year term. Dr. James Holzer, Director of OGIS, is the Committee Chair.
- Dr. James Holzer, Chair
Office of Government Information Services
Brentin V. Evitt
Defense Intelligence Agency
- Karen Finnegan Meyers
- Larry Gottesman
Environmental Protection Agency
- James Hogan
U.S. Department of Defense
- Martin Michalosky
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Ramona Branch Oliver
U.S. Department of Labor
- David M. Pritzker
Administrative Conference of the United States
- Melanie A. Pustay
U.S. Department of Justice
- Dave Bahr
Bahr Law Offices, P.C.
- Andrew Becker
The Center for Investigative Reporting
- Eric Gillespie
- Clay Johnson
The Department of Better Technology
- Nate Jones
National Security Archive
- Sean Moulton
Project on Government Oversight (POGO)
- Maggie Mulvihill
- Anne Weismann
Campaign for Accountability
- Lee White
Mark S. Zaid
Law Office of Mark S. Zaid, P.C.
David Bahr is a Eugene, Oregon-based attorney who has represented public information requesters for over 24 years. His clients include large environmental groups, journalists covering the Columbia River salmon wars, and a small non-profit Ohio water district in litigation with the DuPont chemical corporation. Mr. Bahr is a principal in FOIADVOCATES.COM, an online project intended to foster greater public access to state and federal government information. He received the 2001 Society of Professional Journalists’ Sunshine Award for “outstanding efforts in advocacy under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and state public records laws and personal courage in working to keep public information publicly available.” Mr. Bahr also earned the Kerry L. Rydberg Award for accomplishment in public interest litigation by the 1999 Public Interest Law Conference at the University of Oregon Law School.
Andrew Becker is the border and national security reporter for The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), a nonprofit nonpartisan investigative reporting team. Since joining CIR in 2008, Mr. Becker has regularly relied on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and similar state public information laws to obtain documents and records he has used to write about the U.S. immigration system, border security and corruption, intelligence, drug trafficking and government oversight. The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse in 2013 cited his use of FOIA as a “great example” of using requests to ferret out important news stories. His reporting, which has helped spur Congressional action, has appeared in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, NPR, Newsweek, The Daily Beast and other media outlets. Mr. Becker earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Brent V. Evitt
Brent V. Evitt is the Deputy General Counsel for Mission Services, Science and Technology with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Office of the General Counsel. He provides legal counsel and expert guidance on Freedom of Information Act issues. Prior to his assignment with DIA, Mr. Evitt served for 10 years as a FOIA attorney with the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Information Policy (OIP). In his last OIP assignment, Mr. Evitt served as the Senior Counsel and Chief of the Administrative Appeals Staff. At the DOJ, he also defended the government in FOIA cases before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Mr. Evitt was a regular member of OIP’s FOIA teaching staff and has also taught for the American Society of Access Professionals (ASAP). He previously served on the ASAP Board of Directors. Mr. Evitt’s military background includes assignments with the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Corps and the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He is a graduate of law schools in the U.S. and New Zealand.
Karen Finnegan Meyers
Karen Finnegan Meyers is the Chief of the Programs and Policies Division at the Department of State, which develops Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) policies and procedures, handles FOIA litigation and manages the Department’s special document productions. Ms. Finnegan served as the first Deputy Director of the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS). She has held several FOIA attorney positions in the Department of Justice, most recently as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney assigned to the FOIA Staff of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys. Ms. Finnegan, a longtime board member of American Society of Access Professionals (ASAP), served as ASAP Board of Directors president in 2007 and teaches at its various training programs. Her experience across multiple agencies spans the entire FOIA process, from processing requests to defending against FOIA lawsuits to mediating FOIA disputes outside of court.
Eric Gillespie is the CEO of Govini, a business intelligence and analytics company he founded to give businesses custom analytics about government market data. He is the former Senior Vice President and acting CEO of Onvia, a Nasdaq-listed firm that provides research about state and municipal government agencies. Prior to Onvia, he founded The Patent Board, which provides intellectual property analytics and tools based on U.S. Patent and Trademark Office data. Mr. Gillespie held senior technology positions at IBM, Scient, CSC and other leading technology companies. As an expert in the private sector's use of public sector data, he has testified before the Congress on matters of government transparency, data and public sector technology, and has provided expert commentary to NPR, Fortune, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, the International Herald Tribune, and The Washington Post, among others. Mr. Gillespie serves and has served on the boards of a variety of for-profit and non-profit organizations, and is a graduate of Harvard Business School.
Larry Gottesman is the agency Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Officer and Acting Chief of the FOIA and Privacy Act Branch for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the National FOIA and Privacy Programs and provides FOIA policy guidance to the EPA. Mr. Gottesman was one of the innovators of FOIAonline, a shared-service platform used by eight Federal agencies to receive and help process FOIA requests and report on the activities of their FOIA programs. Mr. Gottesman has worked in FOIA for about 25 years at the U.S. Department of Labor and EPA, where he reduced the agency’s FOIA backlog by more than 97 percent without additional resources. Mr. Gottesman earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of South Florida and his law degree from George Mason University School of Law. He was a Senior Executive Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2011.
James Hogan is Chief of the Defense Freedom of Information Policy Office, responsible for formulating and implementing FOIA policy for the Department of Defense (DOD) on behalf of the agency’s Chief FOIA Officer. He also oversees the administrative processing of all FOIA litigation and appeals for DoD’s Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Combatant Commands. Mr. Hogan has conducted FOIA training for DOD, the Departments of Justice and Energy, and the American Society of Access Professionals. Under Mr. Hogan’s guidance the DOD reduced its FOIA backlog 43 percent between 2009 and 2013. A retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, Mr. Hogan was an Instructor Navigator in KC-135, EC-135, and T-43 aircraft and an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He earned his undergraduate degree at Grove City College and his master’s degree at The Ohio State University.
In August 2015, Dr. James Holzer became the Director of the Office of Government Information Services, the Federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) ombudsman’s office, which is part of the National Archives and Records Administration. Prior to joining OGIS, Dr. Holzer spent six years at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) FOIA Office, serving most recently as the Senior Director of FOIA Operations. In this role, Dr. Holzer served as the senior advisor on FOIA and the Privacy Act to executive-level leaders throughout DHS. Dr. Holzer served in the U.S. Air Force for 13 years; while on active duty where he worked extensively in matters involving administrative policies, financial management, materiel management operations and management of wholesale supply activities. He deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and to Afghanistan in 2007. Dr. Holzer received his Doctorate of Management from University of Maryland, University College. He also earned Master of Human Relations degree from the University of Oklahoma, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Clay Johnson is the CEO of the Department of Better Technology, which creates software for government and the people it serves. In the last 10 years, Mr. Johnson spearheaded technology initiatives as the Sunlight Foundation’s Director of Sunlight Labs, a community of open-source developers and designers dedicated to make the federal government more transparent, accountable, and responsible. One of the first Presidential Innovation Fellows at the White House, Mr. Johnson is the author of the best-selling book, The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption.
Nate Jones is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Coordinator for the National Security Archive, an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at George Washington University (GWU). Mr. Jones oversees thousands of FOIA and Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) requests and hundreds of FOIA and MDR appeals that the Archive submits each year. He acts as liaison between Archive analysts and government FOIA officers, serves as the Archive's FOIA counselor to the public, edits the Archive's blog “Unredacted,” and manages its social media. He earned his master’s degree in Cold War History from GWU, where he wrote his thesis on— and submitted FOIA requests about—the 1983 "Able Archer" nuclear war scare. He continues to submit FOIA requests for, publish, and analyze documents on the 1983 incident. Mr. Jones is on the Board of Directors for the American Society of Access Professionals.
Martin Michalosky is the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and oversees the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Records Management, Facilities, Security, and Library programs. Mr. Michalosky previously served as the CFPB’s FOIA Manager, where he was responsible for establishing the FOIA program and fostering transparency throughout the organization. Before joining the CFPB, Mr. Michalosky served in leadership positions with the Department of Defense related to FOIA, records management, and privacy. These positions included Acting Director for the U.S. Army’s Intelligence and Security Command Freedom of Information/Privacy Office, the Chief of the U.S. Army’s Investigative Records Repository, and the Chief of Communications and Information Management for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Mr. Michalosky has shared his expertise and experience at events sponsored by the American Society of Access Professionals (ASAP), the Association of Information and Image Management (AIIM), and industry leaders. He holds associate degrees in Information Management and Information Services Technology, a bachelor’s degree in Information Systems Management, and a master’s in Management with a minor in Homeland Security.
Sean Moulton is the Open Government Program Manager at POGO and oversees the effort to develop a “blueprint” the next president can use to build a more open and accountable administration. Before joining POGO, Sean worked for over a decade on transparency and government accountability issues, with special attention to freedom of information issues, spending transparency, and environmental right-to-know policies. He has authored reports, testified before Congress, submitted comments on proposed regulations, and helped launch public disclosure websites. He has spoken on open government issues extensively with the media, having appeared on C-SPAN, NPR, ABC, and NBC and being quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other major news publications. Sean led the Center for Effective Government’s open government work for 13 years. He has also worked at Friends of the Earth, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Council on Economic Priorities. In 2011 Sean was inducted into the National Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame. He holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and English from Albright College.
Maggie Mulvihill is a professor of journalism at Boston University (BU). A former media lawyer, Ms. Mulvihill is a member of the Steering Committee for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, where she was a law school intern. She is a Faculty Fellow at BU’s Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering where she teaches computer science and journalism students how to tell data-driven stories. A co-founder of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting (NECIR), Ms. Mulvihill has taught hundreds of students and professional journalists how to incorporate data into their reporting. Since 2011, her NECIR students have been honored with ten regional or national journalism awards including the Philip Meyer Precision Journalism Award from Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Society of Professional Journalists Regional Mark of Excellence Award. Ms. Mulvihill serves on the board of the New England First Amendment Coalition and was a 2004-2005 fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.
Ramona Branch Oliver
Ramona Branch Oliver is the Director of the Office of Information Services in the Office of the Solicitor at the Department of Labor (DOL). She has spent nearly 20 years in Federal service at DOL and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) working with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act as well as statutes governing access to presidential records, and deeds governing donated historical materials and records with unique or special restrictions to access. Ms. Oliver began her career working with the public as a reference archivist working to provide access to the historically valuable records of the federal government; she now works with FOIA requesters seeking access to DOL records. Ms. Oliver is a frequent lecturer on FOIA and Privacy Act issues.
Mr. David Pritzker. Mr. Pritzker is the Deputy General Counsel for the Administrative Conference of the United States; ACUS. He brings to the FOIA Advisory Committee, 40 years of experience as a Federal agency attorney, specializing in administrative law, including FOIA. He has extensive experience in regulation, alternative dispute resolution and advisory Committee processes. In 2014, Mr. Pritzker received the Mary C. Lawton Award for Outstanding Government Service from the American Bar Association's Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice. Mr. Pritzker earned a law degree from Cornell University, and a Master’s degree in mathematics from Brandeis and a Bachelor’s degree from Yale.
Melanie Ann Pustay
Melanie Ann Pustay is the Director of the Department of Justice’s Office of Information Policy (OIP) which has statutory responsibility for encouraging and overseeing agency compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). OIP provides training and counseling services government wide. Since becoming Director in 2007, Ms. Pustay has issued policy guidance for agency personnel on a wide range of issues related to FOIA implementation, including guidance on the President’s FOIA Memorandum and the Attorney General’s FOIA Guidelines. She develops reporting requirements for agency Chief FOIA Officer Reports and regularly assesses agency progress. Ms. Pustay is the editor-in-chief of the Department of Justice Guide to the Freedom of Information Act, a comprehensive legal treatise on FOIA. Ms. Pustay regularly lectures on current FOIA issues. Since 2003, she has worked extensively with government officials in numerous countries, including Argentina, Chile, and China, as well as the Organization of American States, to assist officials in implementing open-government initiatives. Ms. Pustay received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for her role in providing legal advice and guidance on records disclosure issues.
Anne Weismann serves as the Executive Director for Campaign for Accountability. Prior to joining the Campaign for Accountability, Ms. Weismann served as the Chief Counsel to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). Prior to joining CREW, Ms. Weismann served as Deputy Chief of the Enforcement Bureau at the Federal Communications Commission, where she had responsibility for all of the Bureau's telecommunications matters. Before that, she worked in the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, where she served as an Assistant Branch Director with supervisory responsibility over banking litigation, housing litigation, and from 1995 until 2002, all government information litigation. This included litigation under the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, the Federal Advisory Committee Act, and statutes governing federal and presidential records. Prior to that, she worked in the Solicitor's Office of the Department of Labor. Ms. Weismann received her bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from Brown University and her law degree from George Washington University’s National Law Center.
Since 2006, Lee White has served as the Executive Director of the National Coalition for History (NCH) in Washington, D.C. A consortium of over 50 organizations, NCH advocates on federal legislative and regulatory issues affecting historians, archivists, educators, students, researchers, political scientists, and other stakeholders. While with NCH, White has testified before Congress on National Archives programs. He has also collaborated with the open government community in working with federal agencies to reduce over-classification of government records, increase public access to unclassified records, speed the declassification process, and establish standards for the preservation and retrieval of federal and presidential electronic records. Mr. White is an attorney with over 30 years of experience in government relations with membership associations, as well as several years with the federal government as a legislative counsel. In addition to a degree in law from The Catholic University of America, White also holds a master's degree in history from George Mason University.
Mark S. Zaid
Mark S. Zaid is a Washington, D.C.-based attorney who specializes in cases relating to national security, international law, foreign sovereign and diplomatic immunity, defamation and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act. Mr. Zaid teaches the D.C. Bar Continuing Legal Education classes on “Defending Security Clearances” (since 2006) and “The Basics of Filing and Litigating Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Requests” (since 2003). Mr. Zaid founded and is the Executive Director of the James Madison Project, which educates the public on issues relating to intelligence gathering and operations, secrecy policies, national security and government wrongdoing. Mr. Zaid is an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Global Security Studies program. He is a 1992 graduate of Albany Law School of Union University in New York, where he served as an Associate Editor of the Albany Law Review, and earned his bachelor’s degree cum laude in 1989 from the University of Rochester with honors in political science and high honors in history. Mr. Zaid is a member of the bars of New York State, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maryland and numerous federal courts.
Date Reviewed: Apr 15, 2016 | Last Updated: Apr 15, 2016
Larry Gottesman, Environmental Protection Agency
Ginger McCall, Electronic Privacy Information Center
Miriam Nisbet, Office of Government Information Services (retired)
Melanie A. Pustay, Department of Justice
David S. Reed, Federal Communications Commission
The Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) directs Federal Advisory Committees to develop operating procedures to govern Advisory Committee activities and meetings and to specify the relationship among Advisory Committee members, the Committees' Designated Federal Officers (DFOs) and agency staff. Before the Committee's October 21, 2014 meeting, FOIA Advisory Committee draft bylaws were circulated among the Committee. During the October 21 meeting, Committee Chair Miriam Nisbet noted that additional discussion appeared necessary before voting on the bylaws. The Committee created a Working Group to meet, discuss and agree to bylaws language. On November 13, 2014, the Working Group convened at the Office of Government Information Services to draft bylaws. At the Committee's January 27, 2015 meeting, the Committee voted to adopt the by-laws drafted by the working group.
Working Group Documents
Bylaws - Adopted by FOIA Advisory Committee on January 27, 2015 (see in By-laws panel above)
Bylaws - DRAFT - Clean- October 17, 2014
Bylaws - DRAFT - With Edits- October 17, 2014
Bylaws - DRAFT - Clean- October 15, 2014
Bylaws - DRAFT - With Edits- October 15, 2014
- Bylaws - DRAFT- October 14, 2014
Date Posted: Jan 23, 2015 | Date Updated: Jan 30, 2015 | Last Reviewed: Jan 30, 2015
The Committee is established in accordance with the NAP and the directive in the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552(h)(1)(C), that the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS)“recommend policy changes … to improve” the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) administration. The Committee is governed by the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, 5 U.S.C. App.
This advisory committee shall serve as a deliberative body to advise on improvements to FOIA administration. The Committee will study the current FOIA landscape across the Executive Branch and may recommend legislative action, policy changes or executive action, among other matters.
OGIS will provide funding and administrative support for the Committee to the extent permitted by law and within existing appropriations.
Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero appointed the 20 members of the Committee in May 2014. There are 10 members from within government and 10 non-governmental members who have considerable FOIA expertise and who were selected to achieve a balanced representation. Committee members are appointed to serve a two-year term. OGIS Director, Dr. James Holzer, is the Committee Chair. The Committee shall meet up to four times per year and may call additional meetings as may be necessary. Meetings will be open to the public.
Committee Management Officer
Patrice Little Murray
Mail: National Archives and Records Administration
Office of Strategy and Communications
8601 Adelphi Road - SR
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Designated Federal Officer
Mail: National Archives and Records Administration
Office of Government Information Services
8601 Adelphi Road - OGIS
College Park, MD 20740-6001
OGIS will post information regarding FOIA Advisory Committee meetings as soon as it becomes available. OGIS will announce meeting dates in the Federal Register and on this website.
Federal FOIA Advisory Committee