David Cuillier Comments on the Shutdown of the Online Freedom of Information Act Public Record Request Website
David Cuillier, director of the Brechner Freedom of Information Project, is quoted in “After a Decade, FOIAonline is Shutting Down. What’s Next for FOIA Requestors? ” published on muckrock.com on Sept. 26, 2023.
For more than a decade, the Environmental Protection Agency hosted a portal for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests used by dozens of federal agencies. The site, FOIAonline.gov, has been the key hub many journalists, academics, activists and the general public use to request and access public records. But on Sept. 30, it will begin the process of shutting down.
According to Cuillier, FOIA logs, or detailed spreadsheets and databases showing what has been requested, released or denied, are valuable tools and that a centralized system of FOIA logs would help the public see trends and spot issues that warrant further attention.
“We’re the United States of friggin’ America. We can come up with something that works at a national level, just like many other countries,” Cuillier said. “It would make everyone’s job easier, I think. The government and the requesters…it’s just sad.”