Federal agencies spend millions of tax dollars opposing Americans’ successful lawsuits seeking public records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), but can’t say exactly how much, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.
Department of Justice (DOJ) officials responsible for tracking agencies’ FOIA compliance don’t know how much agencies spent fighting 112 cases from 2009 to 2014 in which the plaintiff “substantially” prevailed, according to GAO. Of the 57 lawsuits agencies could track, agencies spent $1.8 million.
But that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the $144 million agencies estimated they spent fighting 3,350 FOIA lawsuits from 2009 to 2014, according to GAO.
Current DOJ policy doesn’t require department officials to track spending by agencies on specific lawsuits, or whether the plaintiff or agency prevailed, leaving gaps in federal records about FOIA lawsuits, according to GAO.
Read the entire article