The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives any person the right to request access to records of various agencies in the federal government. The agency must disclose the records requested unless they are protected by one or more of the exemptions found in FOIA.
FOIA applies only to federal agencies and does not create a right of access to records held by Congress, the courts, state or local government agencies, private businesses, schools, private organizations, or private individuals.
The FOIA statute can be found at 5 USC § 552. The Department of Commerce FOIA regulations that implement the statute are found at 15 CFR §§ 4.1~4.11.
Note: Many OIG publications, including audit and inspection reports issued since October 1997, Semiannual Reports to Congress, and congressional testimony, are available at OIG Publications.