FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: Businesses are weaponizing requests

FOIA News (2018)Allan BlutsteinComment

Industries Turn Freedom of Information Requests on Their Critics

By Elizabeth Williamson, NY Times, Nov. 5, 2018

Dennis J. Ventry Jr., a law professor at the University of California, Davis, drew the ire of tax preparation companies like Intuit and H&R Block this summer by criticizing a deal they have to provide a free tax filing service through the Internal Revenue Service.

The companies promptly hit back with a tactic that corporations, lobbyists and interest groups are increasingly using against academic researchers: Their trade coalition filed a public records request with the university in July seeking everything Mr. Ventry had written or said about the companies this year, including emails, text messages, voice mail messages and hand-jotted notes.

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