“No one certainly in my office was involved in the decision that was made as it relates to the timing of this announcement,” Earnest said. “This change in the regulation is merely an effort to comply with a court ruling that was issued almost six years ago.”
The Freedom of Information Act is used by the US public, watchdog groups and journalists to obtain information from the government.
On Tuesday, the White House announced that its Office of Administration, which provides administrative and business services to the White House, would be exempted from FOIA requests as there are no legal basis to be subjected to FOIA provisions.
A 2009 ruling by the US Federal Appeals Court found the Office of Administration was not subject to FOIA requests.
Meanwhile, Earnest said, the Office of Administration would continue to ensure that the US President Barack Obama administration is “the most transparent administration in history,” and still be a “source of information” for both the public and the media.
The White House is not a federal agency, and therefore not subject to the FOIA requests. However, the Office of Administration had responded to FOIA requests for nearly three decades.