March 18, 2015

White House defends move to curb records requests

Obama administration officials said Tuesday there was no ulterior motive in the administration’s move that makes the White House Office of Administration no longer subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
The rule change, which came Monday on National Freedom of Information Day, was required by a federal judge’s ruling six years ago, said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
“The regulations were merely updated to reflect that court’s decision,” Mr. Earnest said. “It has no impact on the policy that we have maintained from the beginning to comply with the Freedom of information act requests when it’s appropriate.”
The policy will allow the Obama White House to reject records requests for that office, just as the last Bush White House did. But the move was an awkward one for an administration that bills itself as the “most transparent in history.”
The change also comes as former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is embroiled in questions about her decision to use personal email in her job instead of the government’s email system.
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