FOIA Advisor

FOIA News (2019)

FOIA News: Media requests to EPA spike under Trump

FOIA News (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

EXCLUSIVE: Media Requests for EPA Records Soar Under Trump

By Kevin Mooney, Daily Signal, July 22, 2019

Major news outlets, seemingly more prone to investigative reporting in the Trump era, are much more aggressive in seeking records from the Environmental Protection Agency than they were in the final years of the Obama administration, The Daily Signal has learned.

ABC News, CBS News, the Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Politico are among 20 news organizations showing a large increase in Freedom of Information Act requests, according to EPA numbers obtained by The Daily Signal. 

Read more here.

[ALB comment: We’ve seen this story before, per Washington Free Beacon.]

FOIA News: Senators ask EPA to reconsider FOIA regs

FOIA News (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Senators Leahy, Grassley, Feinstein, And Cornyn Raise Concerns About EPA’s FOIA Rule

…Senators Ask EPA To Reconsider FOIA Rule Or Provide Sufficient Opportunity For Public Comment And Transition Period

Press Release, Office of U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy

(MONDAY, July 22, 2019) — Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and John Cornyn (R-Texas) – all senior members of the Senate Judiciary Committee with exclusive jurisdiction over the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) – sent a bipartisan letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler raising serious concerns with the EPA’s recent “FOIA Regulations Update” final rule, asking him to reconsider the rule or provide sufficient opportunity for the American public to comment on it and additional transition time to ensure public awareness.

Read more here.

FOIA News: More on SCOTUS Ex. 4 decision

FOIA News (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

U.S. Supreme Court Broadens FOIA Exemption 4 for ‘Confidential’ Materials

By Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Nat’l L. Rev. July 22, 2019

On June 24, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media expanded the Freedom of Information Act’s (FOIA) Exemption 4, excluding from disclosure pursuant to a FOIA request material containing “trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential.” 5 U.S.C. §552(b)(4).

Read more here.

FOIA News: DeVos under investigation for use of personal email

FOIA News (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

DeVos' use of personal email as secretary probed by House Democrats

By Kimberly Hefling, Politico, July 15, 2019

House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings said Monday that he is expanding an investigation into the use of personal email by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Cummings told DeVos in a letter that his move came after "disturbing new revelations" released by the Education Department's inspector general in May about how DeVos had used personal email while on the job.

Read more here.

FOIA News: Chief FOIA Officers' Council to meet on Aug. 5

FOIA News (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

The Chief FOIA Officers’ Council will hold its annual meeting on August 5, 2019, from 10am to noon, per a notice issued by the Office of Government Information Services. Registration for the meeting will go live via Eventbrite on Friday, July 12, 2019. The meeting also will be live-streamed on the National Archives YouTube channel.

[An earlier version of this post identified the wrong date of the meeting]

FOIA News: Coalition opposes EPA's FOIA rule

FOIA News (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Environmental groups fight EPA's new FOIA rule

By Rebecca Beitsch, The Hill, July 8, 2019

A coalition of environmental groups pushed back Monday against a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that could restrict access to public records. 

The new EPA rule, the details of which were first reported by The Hill, allows the administrator and other political appointees to review all materials requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process. 

Read more here.

A copy of EPA’s rule is here.

FOIA News: Senators unhappy with EPA and Interior regulations

FOIA News (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Lawmakers talk legislation in response to FOIA changes

By Miranda Green, The Hill, July 7, 2019

Senators from both parties are unhappy with new Trump administration rules giving political appointees at two government agencies more power to review public information requests, and they say they may craft legislation to fix it.

The new rules for considering Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests at the Interior Department and Environmental Protection Agency have provoked complaints from the media and outside groups, and the senators say they go in the opposite direction in terms of providing access to government records.

Read more here.

FOIA News: USCIS to demonstrate its new FOIA system

FOIA News (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Upcoming USCIS Webinar

Office of Gov’t Info. Serv., July 3, 2019

Thinking about FOIA beyond its 53rd birthday on July 4th? Interested in how to submit and track FOIA and Privacy Act requests and receive documents digitally from U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)? The agency will demonstrate the system and answer the public’s questions during  an hour-long webinar at 2 p.m. EDT Tuesday July 9th.

Read more here.

FOIA News: State Dep't official testifies that he warned Clinton aides about private emails

FOIA News (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Top State Department Record-Keeper Says He Warned Clinton Team on Emails

By Mark Tapscott, Epoch Times, July 2, 2019

Former Department of State Director of Information Programs and Services (IPS) John Hackett warned key Hillary Clinton aides about their failure to preserve official business emails on her private server, Judicial Watch announced Tuesday.

“Well, we heard that there were 50,000 or 60,000 emails, and that they had—‘they’ being the secretary’s team—had culled out 30,000 of these,” Hackett told Judicial Watch during a recent deposition.

The non-profit government watchdog made the Hackett deposition public Tuesday. Clinton was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 and used a private email system throughout her tenure to conduct official diplomatic business.

Read more here.