Defining a “Record” under FOIA

The Freedom of Information Act has provided the public with access to federal agency records since the mid-1960s.  As hard as it may be to believe, the definition of a “record” is still not established.  There has been a great deal of litigation over the definition of an “agency record” […]

Sec. Vilsack followed ethics guidelines when negotiating his future employment

Under the Obama administration, we at Cause of Action Institute have not had many opportunities to applaud public officials for taking it upon themselves to adhere to applicable ethics standards.  This week, we learned that U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) Secretary Tom Vilsack appears to be an outlier for the […]

CoA Institute Investigates EPA Employees Using Electronic Messaging Apps to Thwart Transparency

Washington D.C. – Cause of Action Institute (“CoA Institute”) has filed a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request after recent media reports identified a number of career EPA employees possibly using an encrypted electronic messaging app called “Signal” to communicate about work-related issues, including how to prevent political appointees from […]

DOD revises FOIA policies incorporating CoA Institute recommendations

The Department of Defense (“DOD”) yesterday published an interim rule proposing new regulations to implement the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). The proposed changes are necessary to bring DOD regulations into compliance with the OPEN Government Act of 2007 and the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, but they also build […]

IRS Watchdog shields records on breach of confidential taxpayer information

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has concluded its review of allegations brought by Cause of Action Institute (CoA Institute) concerning the unlawful disclosure and inspection of more than one million pages of confidential taxpayer information. The agency opened its investigation in July 2016 but now claims it […]

Is Sec. Perez Campaigning on the Taxpayer’s Dime?

Washington D.C. – Cause of Action Institute (“CoA Institute”) today sent a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request to the U.S. Department of Labor investigating whether recent outreach by Secretary Tom Perez to voting members of the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”) regarding his political future could be in violation of […]

CoA Institute Sues CFPB for Refusing to Release Records Underpinning Anti-Arbitration Rule

Washington D.C. – Cause of Action Institute (“CoA Institute”) today filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to compel the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) to provide records the agency used in formulating its rule to prohibit the use of mandatory binding arbitration clauses […]