Lawsuit targets Obama administration for deliberate Freedom of Information obstruction
A transparency watchdog is suing the White House and 11 federal agencies over the Obama administration’s routine obstruction in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.
Cause of Action, a nonpartisan government accountability organization, alleges that President Barack Obama’s “most transparent” administration has gone to unprecedented lengths to stymie information requests involving politically sensitive or potentially embarrassing government records.
“The Obama administration … has interfered in the FOIA process in ways that violate the statute and hinder its purpose of federal transparency,” the transparency advocate said, adding that Obama’s actions have certainly not matched his rhetoric.
Part of the administrations massive transparency problem dates back to a 2009 White House memo directing all federal agencies to consult directly with top administration officials before handing over any documents involving “White House equities” in response to FOIA requests.
Cause of Action maintains that these consultations have been used to slow the FOIA process to a crawl, potentially allowing corruption to run its course unabated by public discloser.
“The results of these consultations is that agency FOIA productions are delayed precisely when prompt disclosure is most important,” said Cause of Action. “The consultation process can take months or even years.”
“[D]elaying FOIA productions based on potential political consequences violates both the letter and the spirit of FOIA,” the watchdog continued.
This, of course, isn’t the first time we’ve heard these complaints about the abysmal transparency record under Obama’s watch.
Here are just a few stories to catch you up:
In addition to the the Office of the White House Counsel and White House Counsel Neil Eggleston, the lawsuit just filed by Cause of Action targets: the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Defense, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Interior, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of Transportation and the Department of the Treasury.