Cause of Action is continuing to investigate improper White House review of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by asking agencies to produce their communications with the White House. We recently sued 12 agencies that have failed to provide a final response to our FOIA Requests. We submitted a FOIA request to The Department of Commerce (Commerce) asking for its communications with the White House on November 26, 2013. After eight months of waiting, Commerce responded on June 25, 2014 saying that there were no responsive documents.

No Docs

Cause of Action received a supplemental response from Commerce 25 minutes later informing us to disregard the previous email and provided a new final response. The new response: “The responsive documents located in response to your FOIA request are being withheld in their entirety.” Commerce withheld 30 pages of documents in full, citing FOIA exemptions 5 and 6. By contrast, every other agency that has responded to our request provided documents with only some redactions and nothing withheld in full.


In less than 30 minutes, “no responsive documents” becomes 30 pages of documents “withheld in their entirety.” This is transparency in the “most transparent administration in history.”