Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Reference Guide (2018) https://www.foia.gov/
FOIA allows access by the general public to data held by national governments and, where applicable, by state and local governments. The emergence of freedom of information legislation was a response to increasing dissatisfaction with the secrecy surrounding government policy development and decision making.
The FOIA does not apply to records of the Congress and legislative branch agencies, records of the federal courts and judicial branch agencies, records of the President while in office, donated presidential materials of Presidents Hoover through Carter, and the Nixon presidential materials governed by the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974.
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