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Jan 27 21

CENTER FOR DEMOCRACY AND TECHNOLOGY v. US DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY et al and 6 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 48 documents from 7 FOIA cases filed between January 10, 2021 and January 16, 2021. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. CENTER FOR DEMOCRACY AND TECHNOLOGY v. US DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY et al (filed Jan 15, 2021)
    The Center for Democracy and Technology submitted three FOIA requests to the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning the monitoring of social media by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The agencies acknowledged receipt of the requests but after hearing nothing further from the agencies, CDT filed suit read more…
Jan 27 21

FOIA Activity: 11 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 11 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between January 10, 2021 and January 16, 2021. These are associated with 11 FOIA cases pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

Click on the date to view the full text of the decision. Click on a case title below to view other details for that case, including links to the docket report and complaint.

  1. DC 1:2019cv00778CAUSE OF ACTION INSTITUTE v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
    • January 14, 2021: MEMORANDUM AND OPINION. Signed by Judge Carl J. Nichols on January 14, 2021. (lccjn1)
  2. read more…

Jan 27 21

CATO INSTITUTE v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION et al and 9 other new FOIA lawsuits, plus case descriptions

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 54 documents from 9 FOIA cases filed between January 3, 2021 and January 9, 2021. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. CATO INSTITUTE v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION et al (filed Jan 7, 2021)
    The Cato Institute submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning deceased Senator Frank Church. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. The agency disclosed 469 pages from its preprocessed file. The Cato Institute asked for an estimated date of completion. The agency told the Cato Institute that its request was still being processed read more…
Jan 27 21

FOIA Activity: 12 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 12 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between January 3, 2021 and January 9, 2021. These are associated with 12 FOIA cases pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

Click on the date to view the full text of the decision. Click on a case title below to view other details for that case, including links to the docket report and complaint.

  1. DC 1:2017cv00918MONTGOMERY et al v. INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE
    • January 5, 2021: MEMORANDUM OPINION re [109] Order on Motions for Partial Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 1/5/2021. (lcjeb1)
  2. read more…

Jan 13 21

When FOIA Goes to Court: 20 Years of Freedom of Information Act Litigation by News Organizations and Reporters

by FOIA Project Staff

The news media are powerful players in the world of government transparency and public accountability. One important tool for ensuring public accountability is through invoking transparency mandates provided by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In 2020, news organizations and individual reporters filed 122 different FOIA suits[1] to compel disclosure of federal government records—more than any year on record according to federal court data back to 2001 analyzed by the FOIA Project

In fact, the media alone have filed a total of 386 FOIA cases during the four years of the Trump Administration, from 2017 through 2020. This is greater than the total of 311 FOIA media cases filed during the sixteen years of the Bush and Obama Administrations combined. Moreover, many of these FOIA cases were the very first FOIA cases filed by members of the news media. Almost as many new FOIA litigators filed their first case in court in the past four years—178 from 2017 to 2020—than the years 2001 to 2016, when 196 FOIA litigators filed their first case. Reporters made up the majority of these. During the past four years, more than four out of five of first-time litigators were individual reporters. The ranks of FOIA litigators thus expanded considerably during the Trump Administration, with more reporters challenging agencies in court for failing to provide records they are seeking, either alone or with their news organizations.

Using the FOIA Project’s unique dataset of FOIA cases filed in federal court, this report provides unprecedented and valuable insight into the rapid growth of media lawsuits designed to make the government more transparent and accountable to the public. The complete, updated list of news media cases, along with the names of organizations and reporters who filed these suits, is available on the News Media List at FOIAProject.org. Figure 1shows the total number of FOIA cases filed by the news each year. Counts are available in Appendix Table 1 at the end of this report.

Figure 1. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Cases Filed by News Organizations and Reporters in Federal Court, 2001–2020.
read more…
Jan 10 21

FOIA Activity: 124 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 41 documents from 6 FOIA cases filed between December 27, 2020 and January 2, 2021. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. JAMES MADISON PROJECT et al v. GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (filed Dec 28, 2020)
    The James Madison Project and Daily Beast Editor Noah Shachtman submitted a FOIA request to the General Services Administration for records concerning the agency’s decision to recognize Joe Biden as president-elect. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. After hearing nothing further from the agency, JMP and Shachtman filed suit read more…
Jan 10 21

FOIA Activity: 1 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 1 decision of a procedural or substantive nature filed between December 27, 2020 and January 2, 2021. These are associated with 1 FOIA case pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

Click on the date to view the full text of the decision. Click on the case title below to view other details for that case, including links to the docket report and complaint.

Dec 31 20

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation v. Department of Justice et al and 12 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 80 documents from 13 FOIA cases filed between December 20, 2020 and December 26, 2020. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. American Civil Liberties Union Foundation v. Department of Justice et al (filed Dec 22, 2020)
    The ACLU Foundation submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for records concerning the Electronic Device Analysis Unit. The ACLU Foundation also requested a fee waiver. The Office of the Attorney General acknowledged receipt of the request and told the ACLU Foundation that its request qualified for unusual circumstances read more…
Dec 31 20

FOIA Activity: 2 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 2 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between December 20, 2020 and December 26, 2020. These are associated with 2 FOIA cases pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

Click on the date to view the full text of the decision. Click on a case title below to view other details for that case, including links to the docket report and complaint.

Dec 26 20

PROJECT FOR PRIVACY AND SURVEILLANCE ACCOUNTABILITY, INC. v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 174 documents from 22 FOIA cases filed between December 13, 2020 and December 19, 2020. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. PROJECT FOR PRIVACY AND SURVEILLANCE ACCOUNTABILITY, INC. v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Dec 14, 2020)
    The Project for Privacy and Surveillance Accountability submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Justice, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Security Agency, the CIA, and the Department of State for records concerning requests for unmasking or upstreaming, including requests for former members of congressional intelligence committees read more…
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