The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that its Office of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Services was recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice for “exceptional service” by FOIA professionals.
The award to a team of 28 professionals recognized their work in handling a growing volume of FOIA requests while reducing the office’s backlog. Between fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2016, FOIA requests to the SEC rose by 38 percent while the number of completed requests in that period increased by 40 percent.
“This award is a well-deserved recognition of the SEC’s FOIA team for their efforts to keep our agency open and accountable to the American people by building one of the best FOIA programs in the Federal Government,” said SEC Acting Chairman Michael Piwowar. “We depend on the trust of the public to serve on their behalf, and it is our responsibility to earn that trust by ensuring the freedom of information.”
Despite being a medium-sized agency, the SEC processes FOIA requests at a level received at much larger federal agencies, averaging nearly 15,000 per year in each of the last four years. In addition to increased volume, the FOIA requests to the agency have become increasingly complex. While many requests previously involved minimal time and effort to process, they now often entail multiple records over a span of years, resulting in hundreds or thousands of pages that require line-by-line reviews.
The Department of Justice award for exceptional service by a FOIA professional or team of FOIA professionals was presented at a ceremony at the Department of Justice to kickoff Sunshine Week, an annual event to highlight the importance of open government.
The SEC’s Office of FOIA Services promotes transparency in government by making SEC records available to the public to the greatest extent possible under the Freedom of Information Act. The office is committed to providing a timely and efficient response to each of the requests for SEC documents and records it receives each year.