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OPINION

Amendment to protect Freedom of Information Act, proposed by Rep. Justin Amash, passes House

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A new amendment proposed by U.S. Rep. Justin Amash that protects Freedom of Information Requests from improper blocking passed in the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday.
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Amash, R-Cascade Township, introduced the amendment to the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill on Thursday, and it passed by a 257 to 164 margin.

The amendment disallows DHS political appointees from improperly blocking the release of FOIA documents, which would prevent appointees from interfering with the public's right to know, Amash said in a release.

"My amendment allows DHS political appointees to continue to be aware of FOIA requests and documents proposed to be released, but prevents political appointees from interfering with the public’s legal right to know,” Amash said in the release. “FOIA is a vital tool for government transparency. We need to ensure FOIA continues to expose government corruption and remains free from politics."

According to the release, political appointees' approval was needed before FOIA documents could be released from the DHS office, and requests were often delayed from the 20-day deadline. The amendment would prevent appointees from blocking requests.

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