Wall Street Journal’s Action to Open Up Government Records
Before posting our March 14 report about the declining number of federal FOIA filings by the media, TRAC sent queries to three separate Wall Street Journal executives for comment. The queries, sent between March 8 and 11, informed the executives that a search of federal court records had not disclosed any FOIA filings by the paper during the past eight years, and requested comments about this absence. A copy of the tables which subsequently appeared in the report were provided at that time.
While they may not have filed any new FOIA lawsuits, the Wall Street Journal did file in court seeking to re-open a 1978 case. Dow Jones & Company, Inc., the Wall Street Journal’s publisher, asked the court to lift its injunction prohibiting the federal government from disclosing medical records reflecting federal payments made to doctors. The original 1978 lawsuit was classified by the court as a contract action rather than a FOIA case. However it should be classified, the Wall Street Journal’s action is an important effort to open up federal government records. See Florida Medical Association, Inc. et al v. Department of Health, Education and Welfare: Joseph A. Califano, Jr. et al, U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Florida (Jacksonville), Civil Docket #3:78-cv-00178 (docket and motion (docket item 61)).
We are grateful to the Wall Street Journal for bringing this to our attention after the report was published.