A new provision in open records law, added by Congress last year, requires agencies to publish electronically any information that is requested at least three times through the federal Freedom of Information Act, so long as that information is not otherwise exempt from disclosure. Last week, the advocacy groups and the biologist submitted identical requests for climate change information, hoping to trigger that provision, and they just might succeed.
“The law is pretty explicit,” said Aaron Mackey, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes transparency. “The law just says, if you get three, then you have to affirmatively disclose it. This should work.”