‘Crowd-sourcing’ FOIA requests – political ploy or quest for openness?

A conservative political group has taken a cue from WikiLeaks and is soliciting supporters to post Freedom of Information Act documents online – as long as they hold the Obama administration up to critical scrutiny.

Steven J. Law, president of Crossroads GPS, told the New York Times he hoped the “crowd-sourcing” strategy would reveal the administration’s poor record of compliance with FOIA requests, among other things.

But unlike WikiLeaks, he said, Wikicountability would avoid publishing “classified, legally privileged or subject to the established statutory exceptions under FOIA.”

Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, said he thought the project might be more intent on attracting donors than fostering transparency, but he acknowledged that a “constant push” from all directions, partisan or otherwise, is necessary to improve government’s willingness to disclose.

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