FOIA Advisor

FOIA News (2019)

FOIA News: More discovery approved in Clinton emails case

FOIA News (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Judge orders more discovery in Clinton emails FOIA case

By Daniel Chaitin & Jerry Dunleavy, Wash. Exam’r, Aug. 23, 2019

A years-long legal fight over Hillary Clinton's emails took another turn when a federal judge in Washington, D.C., ordered additional fact-finding from State Department officials on Thursday.

U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth authorized nearly all of what conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch sought in a recent status report for its case related to the former secretary of state's unauthorized email server, including the depositions of seven Department officials over the next four months. This includes Jamie Bair, an attorney in the Office of Legal Adviser who was assigned to Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information request and its lawsuit, and Tasha Thian, a State Department records officer who wrote about Clinton's email practices in a 2018 book. Three of the officials' names are redacted.

Read more here.

FOIA News: Pentagon and Lockheed cite Argus Leader to protect contracts

FOIA News (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

DOD, Lockheed Want FOIA Bid Blocked After High Court Case

Law360, Aug. 19, 2019

A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling should block an advocacy group’s Freedom of Information Act for documents the group claims demonstrate the U.S. Department of Defense is skirting small business requirements, the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin told a California court.

Read more here (accessible with free trial subscription).

FOIA News: ICYMI, FOIA Advisory Committee Hearing Scheduled for September 5, 2019

FOIA News (2019)Kevin SchmidtComment

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Advisory Committee; Meeting

Nat’l Archives & Records Admin., Federal Register, Aug, 12, 2019

SUMMARY:

We are announcing an upcoming Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Advisory Committee meeting in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act and the second United States Open Government National Action Plan.

DATES:

The meeting will be on September 5, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EDT. You must register for the meeting by midnight EDT September 2, 2019.

ADDRESSES:

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); 700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW; William G. McGowan Theater; Washington, DC 20408.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Kirsten Mitchell, Designated Federal Officer for this committee, by mail at National Archives and Records Administration, Office of Government Information Services, 8601 Adelphi Road—OGIS; College Park, MD 20740-6001, by telephone at 202-741-5770, or by email at foia-advisory-committee@nara.gov.

Read more here.

FOIA News: 9th Circuit affirms that animals are not "individuals" under FOIA

FOIA News (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Animals Aren't "Individuals" for Freedom of Information Act Purposes

By Eugene Volkh, Volkh Conspiracy 8/13/2019

In yesterday's Ninth Circuit decision in Animal Legal Defense Fund v. U.S. Dep't of Agriculture, the ALDF had asked that a Freedom of Information Act request be expedited; the statute calls for such expedited processing when "failure to obtain requested records on an expedited basis … could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual." The request, though, had to do with the health of Tony the Tiger (no, not the Frosted Flakes one):

Read more here.

FOIA News: Texas Sen. Cornyn joins push to strengthen public access to government records

FOIA News (2019)Kevin SchmidtComment

Texas Sen. Cornyn joins push to strengthen public access to government records

By Bill Lambrecht, Houston Chronicle, Aug. 9, 2019

A bipartisan alliance of senior U.S. senators, including Texas Sen. John Cornyn, is sponsoring legislation to counter a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June interpreting the word “confidential” in a way that further blocks the release of government-held information on businesses.

In Washington, Cornyn and three other Judiciary Committee heavyweights - chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, a former chairman, and Dianne Feinstein of California, now the committee’s ranking Democrat — plan to advance legislation after the Senate recess to counter the Supreme Court’s effects on the Freedom of Information Act.

Read more here.

FOIA News: Gov't must process 5k pages monthly regarding Khashoggi

FOIA News (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

NY judge cites ‘urgency’ of FOIA case regarding Khashoggi

By Associated Press, Las Vegas Review Journal, Aug. 6, 2019

Federal agencies must produce thousands of pages monthly of records pertaining to the killing of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi because learning about his disappearance as quickly as possible is of “paramount importance,” a judge said Tuesday.

Representatives of the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense had told U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer that producing 5,000 pages monthly makes it impossible to respond in a timely fashion to other Freedom of Information Act requests.

Engelmayer ordered the agencies to get it done anyway, saying the disappearance of the Washington Post columnist and Saudi national was of “considerable public importance.”

Read more here.