The District of Columbia Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, DC Code §§ 2-531-539, provides that any person has the right to request access to records. All public bodies of the District government are required to disclose public records, except for those records, or portions of records, that are protected from disclosure by the exemptions found at DC Code § 2-534.
A FOIA request may be made for any public record. This does not mean, however, that the public body will disclose every record sought. Statutory exemptions authorize the withholding of certain public records. When the public body does withhold records or portions of records, it must specify which exemption of the FOIA permits the withholding. FOIA does not require agencies to do research, analyze data, answer written questions, or to create records in order to respond to a request. FOIA only requires the agency to make a reasonable effort to locate already existing records.
How to Make a Request
A FOIA request may be submitted online via the DC government Public FOIA Portal. Requests may also be submitted by mail, fax, or email. However, please note that FOIA requests submitted online will be easier to track and process.
If submitting your request by mail, fax, or email, please mark the outside of the envelope or the subject line of the fax or email: “Freedom of Information Act Request” or “FOIA Request.” Please include a daytime telephone number, email address or mailing address in your request letter so that the FOIA Officer may contact you if necessary.
Describe the record(s) you are seeking as clearly and precisely as possible. In your description, please be as specific as possible with regard to names, dates, places, events, subjects, and other pertinent details that will help the public body to identify the records. The more specific you are about the records you are seeking, the more likely the public body will be able to locate those records. If your request is vague or too broad, we may ask you to be more specific, and this may delay the processing of your request.
All public bodies are required to respond to a FOIA request within 15 business days (that is, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal public holidays) following the receipt of a request by the FOIA Officer of the public body that maintains the records you are requesting. Public bodies may extend the time for a response by an additional 10 business days (again, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal public holidays) for unusual circumstances, as defined by DC Code § 2-532 (d).
Exemptions from FOIA Disclosure
The FOIA statute provides that certain categories of documents may be withheld from disclosure. Included among these are documents that relate to law-enforcement activities, documents subject to recognized legal privileges such as the attorney-client and work-product privileges, documents required to be withheld by other laws (federal or District), documents that reflect the internal deliberative processes of the government, and documents the disclosure of which would result in a clearly unwarranted intrusion on personal privacy. For a complete list of the exemptions, please see DC Official Code § 2-534.
The FOIA Officer is the principal contact point within the Office of Lottery and Gaming for advice and policy guidance on matters pertaining to the administration of the FOIA. All requests are handled professionally and expeditiously. For more information on the District of Columbia Freedom of Information Act, please visit https://cfo.dc.gov/page/open-government-and-foia-cfo.
Office of the Chief Financial Officer
John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20004
Phone: (202) 727-9528
Fax: (202) 724-4217