Washington, D.C. (June 12 2019) – Cause of Action Institute (CoA Institute), celebrated a victory for its client, the Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF), after the U.S District Court for the District of Columbia denied the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) motion for an Open America stay. The victory for DCNF will ensure the FBI produces court ordered records, 500 records per month, pertaining to DCNF’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents relating to Special Government Employee Daniel Richman. The Court largely echoed the arguments made by CoA Institute that the FBI failed to show any unexpected spike in FOIA requests or litigation and had not properly reduced its FOIA backlog.

Eric Bolinder, counsel at Cause of Action Institute:

“This is a significant victory not just for the Daily Caller News Foundation, but for all members of the transparency community who want to hold the FBI accountable. The FBI picked the path of obstructing records transparency by mis-applying the Open America standard. Thankfully, that now has to stop. This important precedent signals that the Courts will not tolerate the federal government’s attempts to stall FOIA requests in order to circumvent transparency measures.”

Case background

DCNF, represented by Cause of Action Institute, filed a lawsuit in August 2018 in order to obtain records and communications relating to Daniel Richman, a Special Government Employee hired by former FBI Director James Comey. The government failed to comply with the statutory guidelines to respond to DCNF’s FOIA request thus prompting DCNF to file suit.

In litigation, the parties conferred to reduce the scope of the request in order to accelerate the process, ultimately reducing the total number of responsive records from 11,000 to 7,000. Nonetheless, the FBI subsequently filed a motion for an Open America Stay citing “workload and litigation constraints”. On June 7, 2019, Judge Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court of D.C. denied the government’s Open America motion and ordered the FBI to produce the responsive documents.