The Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act

These sections provide information about the responsibilities of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) under the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act.  Both statutes address the disclosure of Federal Government records in different contexts. 

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552 (PDF), is a Federal law that gives the public the right to make a request for Federal Government records. Requests from individuals for records about themselves contained in an OGE Privacy Act system of records will be processed under the provisions of the Privacy Act, as well as the FOIA. More information about OGE’s FOIA program is available here.

The Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a (PDF), establishes a code of fair information practices that governs how the Federal Government may collect, maintain, use, and disclose information about individuals. Under the Privacy Act, individuals have the right to request access to records about themselves and to request amendment of their personal information if it is inaccurate, irrelevant, out-of-date, or incomplete. More information about OGE’s Privacy Act program is available here.  

Requesting Public Financial Disclosure Reports 

Public financial disclosure reports, such as those filed by Presidential appointees confirmed by the Senate, are released pursuant to the Ethics in Government Act, not the FOIA or the Privacy Act. 

More information about requesting copies of public financial disclosure reports and other related records under the Ethics in Government Act is available here.