Archives for March 2018

CoA Institute Lawsuit Prompts Archivist to Examine Potential Record Destruction at NOAA

Cause of Action Institute (“CoA Institute”) filed a lawsuit last summer against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) seeking copies of electronic records created through the agency’s Google-based email platform.  These types of records are commonly known as “instant messages.”  The Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) requests at issue […]

Obstruction of the Tax Code: Supreme Court Limits Gov’t Power to Criminalize Sloppy Tax Filers

Did you commit a felony when you made those cash payments to your babysitter?  Last week, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion answering the question as decisively, no. “Please,” you are probably thinking, “that could never have been the case.” But according to the federal government’s arguments in a […]

Congress Throws Fishermen a Lifeline

Congress gave groundfishermen in New England a new lease on life when it appropriated funds last week to cover the cost of the At-Sea Monitoring program for 2018.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) requires groundfishermen—who target bottom-dwelling fish like cod or flounder—to carry at-sea monitors on their boats […]

FTC Raids Small Business and then Obscures Participation in the Raid

Update: On Thursday, March 29, 2018, after clarifying that there was no legal impediment to its production, CoA Institute received from the FMPD the unredacted body cam footage showing the raid on Vylah Tec’s offices. On May 3, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) raided a small family-run tech support company, […]

Senators call for more transparency, support FOIA “Release to One, Release to All”

During a recent hearing on the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), several senators complained about how federal agencies fail to respond to FOIA requests within the statutorily required time-frame. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley complained that, in some cases, agencies may go more than a decade without producing documents […]

White House Directive on Congressional Oversight Requests Classified as “Presidential Record,” Not Subject to Disclosure under the FOIA

A report published earlier this month by the General Services Administration (“GSA”) Inspector General (“IG”) provides new and illuminating, as well as concerning, details about the White House’s directives to agencies for responding to congressional oversight requests from Democratic legislators and other individual members of Congress.  The IG report confirms […]

Supreme Court Limits Gov’t Power to Charge Criminal Penalties for Unknowingly Obstructing the IRS

Washington, D.C. – The Supreme Court this week issued a ruling protecting all Americans from prosecution for vaguely defined tax crimes. In the case of Carlo Marinello, II v. United States, it clarified a broad statute regarding who can be charged with criminal conduct for obstructing the IRS’s administration of the tax […]