FOIA Advisor

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Q&A: Emails between Congress and non-profit organizations

Q&A (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Q.  Can I use FOIA to request emails between congressional staff and non-profit organizations?

A.  No, unless the emails in question are maintained by a federal agency; neither Congress nor private entities are subject to FOIA.  See 5 U.S.C. § 552(f)(1) (defining "agency"); Mayo v. U.S. Gov't Printing Office, 9 F.3d 1450, 1451 (9th Cir. 1994) (ruling that Government Printing Office is part of congressional branch and therefore is not subject to FOIA); Lazaridis v. DOJ, 713 F. Supp. 2d 64, 67-69 (D.D.C. 2010) (holding that National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, both nonprofit organizations, were not subject to FOIA).