The twenty-first year of the Freedom of Information Act 1 (FOIA) saw reaction by the federal government to amendments passed in 1986. 2 The 1986 amendments directed federal agencies to charge lower fees for information requests by "news media" and "scientific and educational institutions" and higher fees for requests by "commercial users." 3 In order to ensure uniformity, Congress directed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to establish guidelines for determining whether a requester fits into any of the three categories. 4 The initial OMB proposal met resistance from both requesters and members of Congress. 5 The final guidelines addressed some of the early criticism by defining a commercial use request as one "that furthers the commercial, trade, or profit interests of the requester," 6 and by broadening the definition of "news media" to include all entities that publish or broadcast news to the public. 7 The final guidelines also define a "scientific institution" as including organizations conducting research in the natural sciences, and define an "educational institution" as excluding scholarly research institutions that do not enroll students. 8 The 1986 FOIA amendments added new fee waiver provisions that caused further administrative reactions in 1987. 9 The Department of Justice addressed the application of the new fee waiver provision in an advisory memorandum that was substantially like the Department's strongly criticized guidance on the old fee waiver standard. 10 A number of agencies continued to follow the Department of Justice's interpretations of the ...
Maria H. Benecki,
Developments Under the Freedom of Information Act—1987,
1988 Duke Law Journal
Available at: http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/dlj/vol37/iss2/14