Committee Member Biographies
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 Journalistsâ€™ Sunshine Award for â€śoutstanding 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.â€ť 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 â€śgreat exampleâ€ť 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 BeastÂ and other media outlets. Mr. Becker earned a masterâ€™s degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Brent V. EvittBrent 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 OIPâ€™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. Evittâ€™s military background includes assignments with the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Corps and the U.S. Army Judge Advocate Generalâ€™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 Departmentâ€™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. Â
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. Â
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 agencyâ€™s FOIA backlog by more than 97 percent without additional resources.Â Mr. Gottesman earned his bachelorâ€™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.Â
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 agencyâ€™s Chief FOIA Officer. He also oversees the administrative processing of all FOIA litigation and appeals for DoDâ€™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. Hoganâ€™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 masterâ€™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) ombudsmanâ€™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 Foundationâ€™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 â€śUnredacted,â€ť and manages its social media. He earned his masterâ€™s degree in Cold War History from GWU, where he wrote his thesis onâ€” and submitted FOIA requests aboutâ€”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.Â Mr. Michalosky previously served as the CFPBâ€™s FOIA Manager, where he was responsible for establishing the FOIA program and fostering transparency throughout the organization.Â 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. Armyâ€™s Intelligence and Security Command Freedom of Information/Privacy Office, the Chief of the U.S. Armyâ€™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 bachelorâ€™s degree in Information Systems Management, and a masterâ€™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 â€śblueprintâ€ť 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 Governmentâ€™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 BUâ€™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. Â
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 Masterâ€™s degree in mathematics from Brandeis and a Bachelorâ€™s degree from Yale.
Melanie Ann Pustay
Melanie Ann Pustay is the Director of the Department of Justiceâ€™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 Presidentâ€™s FOIA Memorandum and the Attorney Generalâ€™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 Generalâ€™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 bachelorâ€™s degree magna cum laude from Brown University and her law degree from George Washington Universityâ€™s National Law Center.
Lee WhiteSince 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 â€śDefending Security Clearancesâ€ť (since 2006) and â€śThe Basics of Filing and Litigating Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Requestsâ€ť (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 Universityâ€™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 bachelorâ€™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, 2016Â | Last Updated: Apr 15, 2016