Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, provides that any person has the right to request access to Federal documents and other information. Agencies of the Federal Government are required to disclose documents after receiving a FOIA request for them, unless those documents are protected from disclosure by one of nine exemptions of the FOIA. The Privacy Act (PA), 5 U.S.C. 552a, protects individuals against clearly unwarranted invasion of their personal privacy. The PA informs individuals as to what information is maintained on them and where the information is stored. The PA allows individuals to access documents maintained in a PA System of Records (records retrievable by an individual's name or other personal identifier assigned to that individual) and to request amendments to the records.

If you are interested in obtaining documents maintained by the Economic Research Service (ERS), you will find information on accessing both FOIA and non-FOIA records on the REE Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Guide website. This website is a reference guide that outlines specific procedures for making FOIA and/or PA requests to the Research, Education, and Economic agencies, which includes ERS.

If you have any questions, please contact the REE FOIA Office at

"Nothing could be more irrational than to give the people power and to withhold from them information, without which power is abused. A people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both."

— James Madison