The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) just finalized new Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) regulations.

Last year, Cause of Action Institute (“CoA Institute”) submitted comments to DHS in response to its proposed rule.  We urged the agency to remove the outdated “organized and operated” language from its definition of a representative of the news media.  This language has been used in the past to deny fee waivers to organizations like CoA Institute that are conducting investigations of potential agency wrongdoing.  For example, we had to take the Federal Trade Commission all the way to the D.C. Circuit just to get it to acknowledge that its FOIA fee regulations were outdated and that it was improperly denying us a fee reduction.

In deciding our case, the D.C. Circuit issued a landmark decision clarifying the proper definitions and application of fees in FOIA cases.  CoA Institute cited this case to DHS in its regulatory comments and DHS took heed of the current case law and removed outdated language from its regulations.

This is just another small step in our efforts to provide effective and transparent oversight of the administrative state.