Committee Member Biographies
Jason R. Baron
Jason R. Baron is Of Counsel to the Information Governance and eDiscovery Group at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, in Washington, DC. He is an internationally-recognized speaker and author on the preservation of electronic documents and has written and lectured widely on the subject of integrating best practices in e-discovery searches into the FOIA realm. Mr. Baron previously served as Director of Litigation for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and as the trial lawyer and senior counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). In those roles, Mr. Baron helped drive the government’s adoption of electronic recordkeeping practices and defended the government’s interests in complex federal court litigation. As NARA’s Director of Litigation, he supervised the NARA’s FOIA Officer and Deputy Officer, prepared and reviewed FOIA appeals for signature by the Deputy Archivist, and actively worked with DOJ in FOIA litigation. Mr. Baron holds a BA from Wesleyan University and a JD from Boston University School of Law.
Emily Creighton is the Deputy Legal Director at the American Immigration Council. She oversees the development of the Council’s legal education, non-litigation advocacy, and FOIA work, and supports the Immigration Justice Campaign. Prior to joining the Council, she served as the Senior Advisor on Humanitarian Programs at the USCIS Ombudsman’s Office from 2016 to 2017. Before that, she was a Senior Staff Attorney with the Council, and engaged in impact litigation, representing amicus curiae in immigration cases in federal court and before the Board of Immigration Appeals, and authored numerous practice advisories. Ms. Creighton holds a BA from Boston College and a JD from American University Washington College of Law.
Kevin Goldberg serves as both counselor to – and advocate for – several major press organizations including the American Society of News Editors and the Association of Alternative Newsmedia. He offers legal guidance on organizational matters such as corporate formation, drafting of bylaws and membership policies, and acquisition and compliance with non-profit tax status. Mr. Goldberg is an experienced advocate who has appeared before federal and state legislatures and executive agencies. He has had a hand in the drafting and passage of several major bills revising the FOIA; similar state acts, state laws affecting defamation, copyright, and personal privacy. He has prepared or assisted in the preparation of testimony for members of client organizations testifying before Congress and has himself testified regarding FOIA implementation. He also conducts training sessions and webinars for the organization’s members. Mr. Goldberg holds a BA from James Madison University and a JD from The George Washington University National Law Center.
James R. Jacobs
James R. Jacobs is the US Government Information Librarian and Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) coordinator at Stanford University Libraries where his focus is on academic research support – including FOIA requests and use of information obtained through the use of FOIA for research purposes – traditional collection development as well as digital projects like LOCKSS-USDOCS and Web harvesting (e.g., FOIA Web archive (archive-it.org/collections/924)). Mr. Jacobs is an active member of ALA's Government Documents Roundtable (GODORT) and served a three-year term (2009–2012) on the Depository Library Council (DLC) to the US Public Printer, including serving as DLC Chair from 2011–2012. He is a co-founder of Free Government Information (FGI) (freegovinfo.info) which builds consensus among libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers and journalists who have a stake in the preservation of – and perpetual free access to – government information. Mr. Jacobs holds a BA from SUNY at Cortland and an MSLIS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Andrew Johns is an Associate Professor of History at Brigham Young University and the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies. He is the author or editor of five books, with another book forthcoming in 2019; is the general editor of the Studies in Conflict, Diplomacy, and Peace book series published by the University Press of Kentucky; and is the editor of Passport: The Society for Historians of Foreign Relations Review since 2011. Dr. Johns presently serves as president of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association (2018-2019). From 2001 to 2002, he also worked in the Office of the Historian at the State Department on the Foreign Relations of the United States series. Dr. Johns holds a BA from Brigham Young University and an MA and Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Joan Kaminer is an attorney-advisor with the Office of General Counsel at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). She specializes in information law and provides legal counsel on a host of issues including FOIA, cybersecurity, controlled unclassified information, and confidential business information. She also serves as the EPA’s lead attorney on national security law issues. Ms. Kaminer regularly provides training to EPA attorneys and staff on FOIA processing, FOIA exemptions, and eDiscovery tools. Prior to joining EPA, she served as a Senior Litigation Analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency managing high-profile and complex litigation, including challenging class action FOIA litigations. Ms. Kaminer holds a BA from the University of Georgia, a JD from Catholic University Columbus School of Law, and an ML from the University of Maryland.
Lizzette Katilius is the FOIA Branch Manager at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), where she oversees all aspects of FOIA workflow processes, including initial processing of 13,000+ requests annually and website improvements. Ms. Katilius has over 15 years of experience in FOIA, and began her FOIA career as a FOIA Specialist in the Office of the Secretary at the Department of Interior. She subsequently served as a FOIA Officer at both the Bureau of Land Management and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). While at the VA, Ms. Katilius worked on the contract and implementation of a department-wide electronic FOIA tracking system. Ms. Katilius holds a BA from Radford University and JD from Seton Hall University School of Law.
Chris Knox is a Director in Deloitte’s Forensics and Investigations market offering. Mr. Knox provides complex, crisis-driven information response services including eDiscovery, FOIA, and Congressional inquiry responses to federal government clients. He is a leader in Deloitte’s FOIA offering. He has been instrumental in transforming the response to large-scale, crisis-driven requests for information utilizing a unique combination of workflow, content-based analytics, machine learning and predictive redactions. Mr. Knox also provides executive leadership for federal litigation support contracts including delivery and Profit ∓ Loss responsibility. He has also held responsibilities for litigation support hosting security (FISMA certified), custom development and production operations. Mr. Knox holds a BS from the University of Texas and an MBA from Syracuse University.
Sarah Kotler is the Director of the Division of Freedom of Information at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Since joining the Division, Ms. Kotler has overseen a 70 percent reduction in FDA's FOIA backlog and improved processing efficiencies across the agency. She has increased the number of records posted proactively by the Division and has worked with the requester community to improve the FDA’s FOIA program. Prior to joining the Division of Freedom of Information, Ms. Kotler was an attorney with the FDA's Office of Chief Counsel and, before that time, an attorney in private practice. She holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and JD from Harvard Law School.
Ryan Law is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Privacy, Transparency, and Records at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In this role, he leads Treasury’s Privacy and Civil Liberties, FOIA, Records and Information Management, Paperwork Reduction Act, Federal Advisory Committee Act, Orders and Directives, and Library policies and programs. Mr. Law first joined Treasury in 2013 as the Director for FOIA and Transparency, where he was responsible for the oversight and management of Treasury-wide FOIA policy and administration. In this role, he led an effort to centralize Treasury headquarters FOIA processing and oversight within the Office of Privacy, Transparency, and Records. Prior to joining Treasury, Mr. Law served as an Analyst, Senior Analyst, Supervisory Analyst, and as Deputy Director in charge of the FOIA program at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). At ICE, Mr. Law was responsible for the day-to-day administration and processing of more than 65,000 FOIA requests and appeals. He began his federal career as a FOIA Analyst at the Transportation Security Administration. Mr. Law holds an AA from the College of Southern Maryland and a BAS from Towson University.
Ginger P. McCall
Ginger P. McCall serves as the Public Records Advocate for the State of Oregon and is creating the very first public records ombuds office in that state. Prior to becoming the Advocate, she worked as an attorney-advisor at the Department of Labor, where she commented internally on proposed regulations, worked with components of the Department of Labor to fulfill FOIA requests, defended the Department in FOIA litigation, and commented on proposed FOIA legislation. Prior to her federal government service, Ms. McCall served as the Associate Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a public interest research center, where she directed the Open Government Program. She managed EPIC’s FOIA litigation and worked on a variety of related issues, including consumer privacy protection, international privacy law, and national security matters. Ms. McCall holds a BA from the University of Pittsburgh and JD from Cornell Law School.
Michael Morisy is the founder and chief executive of the non-profit FOIA tool and news site “MuckRock” that has worked with over 10,000 requesters to file, track, and share their federal FOIA and other public records requests. The site is visited by millions of readers each year who benefit from its in-depth guides, accessible reporting, and a variety of transparency tools and resources. Mr. Morisy was previously an editor at the Boston Globe, a John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University, and is a member of the boards of the National Freedom of Information Coalition and the American Society of Access Professionals. Mr. Morisy holds a BA from Cornell University.
Abioye Mosheim serves as the Chief FOIA Officer and Assistant General Counsel for FOIA, Privacy, and Records at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. She oversees the daily operations of the Commission’s FOIA program, and reviews, revises and implements process changes to keep the program in compliance with the FOIA statute and regulations. She previously served as an attorney-advisor at the U.S. Copyright Office, where she handled complex and sensitive initial FOIA requests, worked directly with requesters to narrow requests, conducted FOIA research, advised senior counsel, and drafted responses to requests. Ms. Mosheim holds a BA from Mills College and a JD from the University of Baltimore School of Law.
Suzanne J. Piotrowski
Suzanne J. Piotrowski is an Associate Professor of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University-Newark and Director of the Transparency and Governance Center. Previously she served as the Deputy Dean for the School of Public Affairs and Administration and held the position of Faculty Fellow in the Office of the Chancellor at Rutgers University-Newark for the 2009-2010 academic year. While on research leave in 2017, Dr. Piotrowski was an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Politics at University College London. Her primary research project during her 2017-2018 research leave is a book project assessing the efficacy of the Open Government Partnership in meeting its goals to supplant the historical tensions between performance and democratic accountability. Dr. Piotrowski's research focuses on mission-extrinsic values in public administration, including administrative transparency and open government. She writes widely on public management, accountability, and transparency issues and publishes extensively in academic journals and edited volumes. She has authored the book Governmental Transparency in the Path of Administrative Reform (2007) and edited Governmental Transparency and Secrecy: Linking Literature and Contemporary Debate (2010). Dr. Piotrowski holds a BS from James Madison University, an MPA from the University of Delaware, and a Ph.D. from American University.
Melanie Ann Pustay
Melanie Ann Pustay is Director of the Office of Information Policy (OIP) at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) which has statutory responsibility for encouraging and overseeing agency compliance with the FOIA, and for providing 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. Ms. Pustay holds a BA from George Mason University and a JD from American University Washington School of Law.
Alina M. Semo
Alina M. Semo is the Director of the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and serves as the FOIA Ombudsman. Prior to joining OGIS in December 2016, Ms. Semo served as the Director of Litigation in NARA's Office of General Counsel. Before coming to NARA, Ms. Semo created and served as the Unit Chief for the FOIA Litigation Unit in the Office of the General Counsel at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and also served as an Assistant General Counsel in the Litigation Branch. Ms. Semo began her federal government career as a U.S. Department of Justice trial attorney and later senior counsel in the Federal Programs Branch, Civil Division; and worked as a litigation and corporate associate at Hopkins & Sutter in Washington, DC. Ms. Semo holds a BA from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a JD from Georgetown University Law School.
Lee Steven is the Assistant Vice President of Cause of Action Institute (COAI), where he has been overseeing and managing both litigation and investigation matters since the beginning of 2015. Before joining COAI, Mr. Steven spent 16 years in private practice with the international arbitration group of White a∓ Case LLP in Washington, DC, where he represented both investor and State clients in international disputes across a broad range of industry sectors and advised sovereign clients, international organizations, and private parties on matters of public international law, international and cross-border dispute resolution, and bilateral investment treaties. Mr. Steven holds a BA from Wheaton College, an MA from the University of Texas at Arlington, and a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Thomas Susman is the Director of the Governmental Affairs Office of the American Bar Association (ABA), a position he has held since 2008. He joined the ABA after 27 years as a partner in the law firm of Ropes & Gray. Before that, he was Chief Counsel to the Senate Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure and held other government positions. Mr. Susman’s involvement with FOIA began when, as a member of the U.S. Justice Department in 1968, he advised federal agencies regarding the new law. In his Senate position, he was the principal staff lawyer for the enactment of the 1974 FOIA Amendments. At Ropes & Gray, he handled many FOIA-related litigations and regulatory matters, including the work that resulted in the issuance of President Reagan's Executive Order requiring agencies to give notice to submitters before releasing confidential business information. At the ABA, he has continued his leading role in addressing FOIA matters. He is Founding President and a Board Member of the D.C. Open Government Coalition; on the Board of the National Freedom of Information Coalition; on the Steering Committee of OpenTheGovernment, and has served on many other relevant Boards. He has often testified, addressed conferences and taught on FOIA and related subjects. Mr. Susman holds a BA from Yale University and a JD from the University of Texas School of Law.
Patricia Weth is the Deputy Assistant General Counsel in the FOIA Branch of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and serves as the FOIA Public Liaison. She assists the Branch Chief in the development of FOIA policies and procedures and is responsible for direct supervision of the FOIA Branch staff. She also has experience working in FOIA at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Energy, Export-Import Bank, and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Ms. Weth holds a BA from Loyola College and JD from the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law.
Bradley White is the FOIA Officer at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), where he processes or reviews all DHS headquarters FOIA responses that contain CRCL records, coordinates responses on high-profile and complex FOIA requests that involve multiple DHS components, and assists in all aspects of the DHS Privacy Office responses to FOIA requests in litigation. He also provides FOIA training to DHS senior leaders, CRCL staff, and FOIA and Privacy staff from outside DHS at the Federal Privacy Council’s Privacy Boot Camp. Prior to joining CRCL, he worked in the FOIA office at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for more than seven years. Mr. White holds a BA from American University and JD from American University Washington College of Law.