FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: House seeks to intervene in case involving congressional records

FOIA News (2017)Allan BlutsteinComment

House moves to block access to congressional records through FOIA

A motion to enter a lawsuit over proposals on health care reform has bipartisan backing.

By Josh Gerstein, Politico,  Sept. 15, 2017, Sept. 15, 2017

The House of Representatives is taking legal action to make sure that federal agencies don't release congressional records to the public through the Freedom of Information Act.

The move, which came Friday evening in a lawsuit demanding access to discussions about health care reform between the Trump administration and Congress, threatens to cut off a mechanism liberal watchdog groups were using to gain insight into closed-door negotiations on a variety of policy issues.

In legal papers filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, House General Counsel Thomas Hungar said the move to protect congressional correspondence was authorized by a House body known as the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group. While the panel of top House leaders has divided in the past on sensitive issues, Hungar wrote that they "voted unanimously to authorize this intervention ... to protect the institutional interests of the House."

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