Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a federal statute that provides individuals or any organization the ability to request access to government information from the public record. According to 5 U.S.C.§ 552(a), the executive agency should offer information relevant to its functions, its formal or informal procedures, its rules of procedure or statement of general policy, etc. For example, any individual could request the archival records or operational records from the National Archives, in order to gain access to executive branches; unless this information belongs to the exception category, according to the 5 U.S.C.§ 552(b). According to 36 CFR §1250, all the FOIA request should be a written request; only the records of the executive branch of the Federal government is accessible, which means, that FOIA does not apply to the records of the Federal courts or the Congress.

[Last updated in May of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]