Report Summary

Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General

September 2010

Congressional Response Report: Political Appointees’ Role in the Social Security Administration’s Freedom of Information Act Requests



To determine the extent to which political appointees are made aware of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and have a role in request reviews or decision-making.


The Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, in an August 23, 2010 letter, requested that we conduct an inquiry to determine whether the Social Security Administration (SSA) is engaged in political filtering of FOIA requests.

FOIA allows members of the public to request records from various Federal Government agencies. FOIA requires that SSA disclose any information in its records upon receiving a written request from the public, except for those records that are protected from disclosure.

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Our Conclusion

We determined that SSA’s political appointees were sometimes made aware of or reviewed information requests; however, we found no evidence of FOIA information requests being detoured, unusually scrutinized, delayed, or hindered by the Agency’s political appointees.