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FOIA News: Cause of Action Institute Sues to Stop White House Obstruction of the Freedom of Information Act

FOIA News (2015-16)Kevin SchmidtComment

Cause of Action Institute Sues to Stop White House Obstruction of the Freedom of Information Act

Cause of Action Institute, May 9, 2016

Today, Cause of Action Institute (CoA Institute) filed a lawsuit against 11 federal agencies — plus the Office of the White House Counsel (OWHC) and White House Counsel Neil Eggleston — to end the Obama administration’s practice of delaying government responses to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that the administration considers politically sensitive or embarrassing.

When members of the public request documents from federal agencies, FOIA requires that agencies process the request in accordance with specific deadlines.  Agencies must search for responsive documents and produce them unless the information they contain falls into a specific statutory exception.

The Obama administration, however, has interfered in the FOIA process in ways that violate the statute and hinder its purpose of federal transparency.  Although President Obama came into office with promises of transparency, his administration’s actions have not matched such rhetoric.  Under a non-public 2009 memorandum, federal agencies must consult with OWHC before producing documents that involve “White House equities.”

Read more here.

Complaint here.