What information is not available under the FOIA?

The FOIA does not apply to the Congress, the courts, or the central offices of the White House, nor does it apply to records in the custody of state or local governments. However, all state governments have their own FOIA-type statutes. You may request details about a state’s records access law by writing to the Office of the Attorney General of that State.

The FOIA does not require a state or local government or a private organization or business to release any records directly to the public, whether such records have been submitted to the federal government or not. However, records submitted to the federal government by such organizations or companies may be available through a FOIA request if they are not protected by a FOIA exemption, such as the one covering trade secrets and confidential business information.

Under the FOIA, you may request and generally receive by mail, or electronically, a copy of any record that is in an agency’s files that is not protected from disclosure by one of the exemptions or exclusions.

Content created by Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Division
Content last reviewed