Court filings surge in FOIA cases during Obama years

by Dave Boyer-The Washington Times  |  published on December 25, 2012

A study has found that more federal court complaints were filed during the first term of the Obama administration to force the government to abide by the Freedom of Information Act than were filed against the administration of President George W. Bush in his second term.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University said the FOIA filings in the last two years of Mr. Bush’s second term and the last two years of Mr. Obama’s first term showed a jump of 28 percent — from 562 to 720. Overall, there has been a 6 percent increase in these court cases from the Republican’s second term to the first term of Mr. Obama, who took office pledging to create the most transparent administration ever.

“Partly because President Obama has, since his first few days in office, made sweeping promises about his administration’s support for open government, the somewhat surprising increase in FOIA filings — especially in the last two years — adds credence to the criticism of some activists about the Obama administration’s actual commitment to this goal,” the report stated.

Christopher Horner, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Competitive Enterprise Institute, is in an open-records battle with the Environmental Protection Agency after uncovering that EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson was using an alias email address to conduct official business. He said the administration’s purported commitment to transparency doesn’t measure up.

“The reason is that they just aren’t that into transparency now that it’s more than a talking point, and no longer about the other guy,” Mr. Horner said. “Their pollster apparently told them that people wanted to hear they would be transparent, but it does not seem that there were ever any plans to actually be so.”
The White House had no comment about its FOIA record.

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