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FOIA Lawsuits Reach Highest Level Recorded in 25 Years

“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. Information sought included records on President Trump’s executive orders, warrant applications for conducting surveillance, actions by the new EPA administrator, internal agency communications concerning China at the State Department, operation of the CIA’s twitter account, and border searches conducted by the DHS. Other examples covered records on the missile attack on Syria, the raid in Yemen, eligibility for the Trusted Traveler Program, obligations to taxpayers under the Affordable Care Act, and the federal coal program. These results are based on case-by-case court records compiled and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University for the FOIA Project. For more details, go to:

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