November 15, 2013,

foia-title-final(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch released its 2013 “Transparency 101: Freedom of Information Act and Opens Records Handbook,” which provides comprehensive information about how organizations and individuals can use the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act (PA) to gain access to government documents and scrutinize the behavior of public officials.

 “In this handbook,” the 33-page transparency primer explains in the introduction, “Judicial Watch … seeks to put the knowledge of using federal [open records] laws into the hands of families, churches, communities, organizations and all individuals interested in learning more about the decisions, operations and activities of their government…”

The “Transparency 101” handbook, which contains detailed information on how to file requests for information from the government, warns: “The centralization of power at the federal level over the past century and the sheer vastness of the federal bureaucracy have made it easy for officials to keep important decisions from public scrutiny … This handbook seeks to empower Americans with the ability to: (1) identify records sought; (2) draft, submit, and administratively appeal requests; and (3) prepare to litigate [open records] requests regarding information that they seek either for public benefit or information pertaining directly to them that they have a right to access.”

During the Obama administration, Judicial Watch has filed more than 1200 Freedom of Information requests with the federal government. And Judicial Watch has filed over 120 lawsuits against the Obama administration to force it to obey FOIA, the federal government’s main transparency law. According to Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, the Obama administration has erected a “stone wall of secrecy,” despite his promise to have “the most transparent administration in history.”

“Our government, at all levels, is off the rails and out of control.  The open records laws are among the best tools available to Americans to hold government officials accountable to the rule of law.  The Obama administration’s arrogant refusal to follow the Freedom of Information Act has led to a ‘transparency crisis’ in Washington.  Judicial Watch is second to none in pursuing transparency from the Obama administration.  Now, with our “Transparency 101” FOIA handbook, we hope to enlist other Americans in the herculean effort to find out what our government is up to,” added Fitton.

Judicial Watch, Inc., a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law. Through its educational endeavors, Judicial Watch advocates high standards of ethics and morality in our nation’s public life and seeks to ensure that political and judicial officials do not abuse the powers entrusted to them by the American people. Judicial Watch fulfills its educational mission through litigation, investigations, and public outreach.