public records act request resources

U.S. Freedom of Information Act

The U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is the main federal law defining what federal government records are open to public inspection.

The U.S. Freedom of Information Act is 5 U.S.C., section 552 et seq. See below for accessing the most recent version of the FOIA

Help with the Freedom of Information Act

A number of private organizations have posted guides on the web to help reporters understand the different provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and how to file formal requests to access records.

Center for Investigative Reporting

FOIA Machine

The CIR is creating a FOIA Machine online tool to help you create and file FOIA requests, and then track the response and get assistance if needed. CIR likens it to Turbo Tax for getting government records. See their Kickstarter fundraising drive for more details.

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Open records & meetings guide

The RCFP has an open records & meetings guide that covers the federal FOIA.

First Amendment Project

Freedom of Information Act guide

The First Amendment Project in Oakland, CA, has on Freedom of Information Act guide on its website.

U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform

Citizen's Guide on Using the Freedom of Information Act

The committee published a comprehensive Citizen's Guide on Using the Freedom of Information Act.

Sample FOIA Request Letters

Federal Citizen Information Center

Sample FOIA Request Letter

Center for Investigative Reporting

FOIA Machine

The CIR has a FOIA Machine online tool to help you create and file FOIA requests

Text of the Freedom of Information Act

The text of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act is available online at the:

Cornell University Law School's U.S. Code Web page

In the search boxes type in title 5, section 552.