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May 25 17

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 May 14, 2017 and May 20, 2017. 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. CAE 1:2017cv00034Ford v. Ciraolo-Klepper et al
    • May 18, 2017: ORDER Granting [13] Motion to Dismiss Based on Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction signed by District Judge Dale A. Drozd on 05/18/2017. CASE CLOSED. (Flores, E)
  2. read more…

May 25 17

AMERICAN OVERSIGHT v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE et al and 22 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 168 documents from 21 FOIA cases filed between May 14, 2017 and May 20, 2017. 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 OVERSIGHT v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE et al (filed May 17, 2017)
    American Oversight submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Commerce, Department of Education, Department of Labor, Department of Treasury, and the Small Business Administration for records concerning communications or meetings between agency personnel and Ivanka Trump. The agencies acknowledged receipt of the requests read more…
May 23 17

FOIA Lawsuits Reach Highest Level Recorded in 25 Years

by FOIA Project Staff

The latest available case-by-case records from the federal courts show that Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits challenging the withholding of records have risen since President Trump assumed office. The number of recorded FOIA filings in April climbed to 63 – the highest level recorded for at least 25 years. And although the month is not complete, additional filings during May appear headed even higher with 60 new FOIA lawsuits already filed.

If the pace of FOIA filings during the first seven-plus months of this fiscal year continues at the same rate, FY 2017 will see upwards of 579 FOIA suits filed. This would be up from 512 such suits filed during the last fiscal year of the Obama Administration.

requests_changeFigure 1. FOIA Lawsuits Filed in Federal District Court by Fiscal Year

read more…

May 22 17

Wait Times at EPA on Pending FOIA Requests Has Climbed

by FOIA Project Staff

The latest request-by-request data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that the average number of days unanswered FOIA requests have been waiting has been climbing. As of the end of March, there were 2,410 requests pending at the EPA. On average these had been waiting 321 calendar days without any response.

The number of pending requests at the EPA has remaining fairly steady since June 2015. However, wait times have increased from an average of 253 days back then to 321 days in the latest data. See Figure 1.

requests_changeFigure 1. Backlog of Unanswered EPA FOIA Requests

This rise has taken place even though an increasing proportion of these pending cases are classified by EPA as simple, rather than complex, requests.
To view these EPA backlog figures by processing track, or see FOIA backlogs and wait times for other federal agencies, go to the FOIA Project’s special
web query tool.

May 18 17

AMERICAN OVERSIGHT v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE and 22 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 122 documents from 19 FOIA cases filed between May 7, 2017 and May 13, 2017. 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 OVERSIGHT v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed May 9, 2017)
    American Oversight submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for records concerning why Acting Solicitor General Noel Francisco, who appeared before the Ninth Circuit Jan. 27 to defend President Trump’s travel ban, did not sign the government’s brief. Prior to becoming Acting Solicitor General, Francisco had been a partner at the law firm of Jones Day, which submitted an amicus brief before the Ninth Circuit on behalf of a business client whose interests were adverse to those of the government read more…
May 18 17

FOIA Activity: 6 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 6 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between May 7, 2017 and May 13, 2017. These are associated with 6 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. AZ 2:2015cv01985Rojas v. Federal Aviation Administration
    • May 8, 2017: ORDER denying [23] Plaintiff's Motion to Amend Judgment. See order for details. Signed by Senior Judge Neil V Wake on 5/5/2017.(LMR)
  2. read more…

May 11 17

JOHNSON v. Central Intelligence Agency and 17 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 97 documents from 15 FOIA cases filed between April 30, 2017 and May 6, 2017. 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. JOHNSON v. Central Intelligence Agency (filed May 4, 2017)
    Amanda Johnson, a doctoral student at MIT, submitted a FOIA request to the CIA for records concerning the development and operation of the agency’s Twitter account. The agency acknowledged receipt of her request. Johnson contacted the agency on several occasions and was told her request was being processed read more…
May 11 17

FOIA Activity: 5 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 5 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between April 30, 2017 and May 6, 2017. These are associated with 5 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. CAC 2:2016cv02855Mike Ireland v. Internal Revenue Service
    • May 1, 2017: MINUTES OF Defendant Internal Revenue Service's MOTION for Partial Summary Judgment [24] before Judge Christina A. Snyder: The Court GRANTS the IRS's motion for summary judgment with respect to Items 1, 2, 3, and 4 of plaintiff's FOIA request. (Made JS-6. Case Terminated.) Court Reporter: Laura Elias. (jp)
  2. read more…

May 8 17

FOIA Backlog Skyrockets at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

by FOIA Project Staff

The backlog of unprocessed FOIA requests to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) continues to climb. In just a two-year period, the backlog of unanswered FOIA requests has tripled, climbing from 17,998 at the end of December 2014 to 46,550 at the end of December 2016. See Figure 1.

This means that countless requesters – including reporters, scholars, and those subject to immigration actions – are not getting the information they need to check against unlawful actions and to better hold the government accountable to the governed.

requests_changeFigure 1. Backlog of Unanswered USCIS FOIA Requests

Little improvement has occurred in USCIS’s processing of FOIA requests. While the number of FOIA requests the agency receives has been increasing, during the last quarter of FY 2016 the number of closed FOIA cases took a precipitous tumble, falling from a monthly average of 13,913 in June 2016 to only 211 during October 2016. Closures have only recovered slightly to just 1,400 during December 2016.

These figures are based upon an independent analysis of request-by-request data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act in response to the quarterly survey conducted by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University for the FOIA Project.

The latest figures on FOIA backlogs and wait times for federal agencies responding to TRAC’s latest quarterly survey are now posted on FOIAproject.org. Updated figures are available for:

May 4 17

NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE and 16 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 104 documents from 16 FOIA cases filed between April 23, 2017 and April 29, 2017. 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. NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE (filed Apr 26, 2017)
    The National Security Archive submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for records received by agency officials through the “Dissent Channel,” an informal means of communication established during the Vietnam War for agency employees to express their dissent concerning certain policies. The Archive noted that it had requested all records in 1997, but had been denied access under Exemption 5 (privileges) read more…