FOIA Improvement Act unanimously passes Senate, heads to House

Adam Marshall | Freedom of Information | Commentary | December 9, 2014
December 9, 2014

After a last minute hold was released, the Senate unanimously passed the FOIA Improvement Act of 2014 yesterday. The Act, which strengthen the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), will now head to the House for its approval.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) lifted his hold on the bill late in the day on Monday, allowing the bill to proceed. When asked about the reasons for his delay, the Senator rather mysteriously said, “it’s sort of the internal workings of the Senate.” Lifting the hold allowed Sen. Leahy to go to the floor and secure the unanimous consent of the Senate.

The American Tradition Institute v. University of Virginia

November 12, 2013

The Reporters Committee filed an amicus brief with the Virginia Supreme Court in a case involving access to University of Virginia professor Michael Mann's email exchanges related to his climate change research, arguing that the lower court's definition of "proprietary information" that is exempt from disclosure is far too broad and would make any document in the possession of a government agency exempt from the Virginia records act.

Washington Supreme Court agrees governor can withhold some records with executive communications privilege

Latara Appleby | Freedom of Information | News | October 18, 2013
October 18, 2013

The Washington state Supreme Court ruled yesterday in an 8-1 decision that a governor can withhold certain documents involved with policymaking under the state's public records law.

GIS mapping data is public, not subject to software fee, California high court rules

Jeff Zalesin | Freedom of Information | News | July 9, 2013
July 9, 2013

Electronic geographic information system (GIS) mapping data maintained by California governments is public under the state records law and therefore cannot carry the high price tag of a software licensing fee, the state’s highest court ruled Monday.

American Management Services, Inc., d/b/a Pinnacle v. Dep't of the Army

July 2, 2013

American Management Services, Inc. petitioned the Supreme Court asking that it review a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in which the appellate court affirmed the denial of the petitioner's FOIA request under Exemption 5. The case involves whether an agency can withhold documents under Exemption 5 sent between it and a private third party when it claims it has a common interest with the private party.

Justice Department opposes release of "targeted killing" records

Emily Miller | Freedom of Information | News | June 22, 2012
June 22, 2012

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion for summary judgment Wednesday in a federal Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, opposing the release of documents regarding the CIA's use of “targeted killings.”

Fed. appeals court rules on FOIA exemptions, search scope

You-Jin Han | Freedom of Information | Feature | September 20, 2011
September 20, 2011

A federal appellate court ruled against a government agency that released only documents officials decided were relevant in a federal Freedom of Information Act request that sought all documents regarding a trade agreement.

In an unpublished memorandum opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco (9th Cir.) reversed a lower court's decision on Friday that the Office of U.S. Trade Representative could withhold documents requested by the Center for Biological Diversity.

FBI must say if it has documents sought by inmate

Emily Peterson | Freedom of Information | Feature | June 30, 2011
June 30, 2011

A U.S. appeals court ruled on Tuesday that the federal Freedom of Information Act requires the FBI to disclose to an attorney representing a Texas death row inmate whether it has records that could corroborate his client’s claims of innocence.

SDX grant to Reporters Committee for FOIA appeals guide

Press Release | May 18, 2011
May 18, 2011

The board of directors of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation of the Society of Professional Journalists has approved a grant to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to fund a journalists’ guide to crafting and filing federal Freedom of Information Act appeals.

Bailout records not yet disclosed despite high court denial

Kacey Deamer | Freedom of Information | Feature | March 22, 2011
March 22, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal by a coalition of banks in their attempt to block the Federal Reserve from releasing to the news media information about emergency federal bailout funds they received.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in New York City (2nd Cir.) previously ordered disclosure of the information under the federal Freedom of Information Act to Bloomberg LP and Fox News Network LLC. As of Tuesday, Bloomberg said it has not yet received the requested documents.