The EPA bypassed public comment on its new FOIA regulations, which raises some important legal questions

The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has long struggled with the politicization and abuse of its Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) processes.  Indeed, as Cause of Action Institute (“CoA Institute”) has repeatedly argued, the agency has a “terrible track record for anti-transparency behavior”—from the weaponization of fee waivers and the use of undisclosed “alias” e-mail accounts, to the failure to preserve text messages and the creation of special “awareness review” procedures for politically sensitive FOIA requests.  Yet the EPA’s rather poor reputation plunged even further in late June 2019, when the agency published an unexpected direct final rule implementing various changes to its FOIA regulations. Learn More

The D-Link Systems’ Consent Order Explained

On Tuesday, August 6, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California entered a consent order between the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and D-Link Systems, Inc., a U.S. company that is a global leader in connectivity for home, small business, mid- to large-sized enterprise environments, and service providers, resolving an FTC lawsuit alleging that D-Link Systems’ security practices violated Section 5 of the FTC Act.  The D-Link Systems order marks the close of the first ever litigated FTC action over the application of Section 5 to the security practices used for Internet of Things (“IoT”) devices.  This result is good for D-Link Systems, and good for the FTC.

Learn More

Court Approves Consent Agreement in Federal Trade Commission v. D-Link Systems

WASHINGTON D.C. (August 6, 2019) – Today, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California entered a consent order between the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and D-Link Systems, Inc. Cause of Action Institute has represented D-Link Systems throughout this matter. This joint resolution resolves the FTC’s allegations about the security practices D-Link Systems used for its products. D-Link Systems is an industry leader in Internet of Things (“IoT”) and networking solutions.

Learn More

CoA Institute Commends Bipartisan Group of Senators for Introducing FOIA Bill to Correct the Supreme Court’s Decision on Exemption 4

Washington, D.C. (July 24, 2019) – Cause of Action Institute (“CoA Institute”) commends Senators Grassley, Leahy, Cornyn, and Feinstein for introducing the Open and Responsive Government Act of 2019 (S. 2220), a bill that would correct the Supreme Court’s recent misinterpretation of Exemption 4 within the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”).  The bill would clarify that the term “confidential” in Exemption 4 only protects information that, if disclosed, “would likely cause substantial harm to the competitive position of the person from whom the information was obtained.”  Last term, in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader, the U.S. Supreme overturned that long-settled interpretation of the term “confidential.”  The bipartisan bill would re-establish the previous status quo.

Learn More

CoA Institute Defeats IRS Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit Over Access to Congressional Communications

Washington, D.C. (July 18, 2019) – U.S. District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson yesterday denied the Internal Revenue Service’s (“IRS”) motion to dismiss Cause of Action Institute’s (“CoA Institute”) Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) lawsuit over the agency’s refusal to produce records relating to its dealings with Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation (“JCT”).  To date, the IRS has refused to search for records potentially responsive to CoA Institute’s FOIA requests.  The agency instead has argued that all relevant records would categorically be “congressional records” outside the scope of disclosure permitted under the FOIA.  In its failed motion, the IRS claimed that the federal district court even lacked the authority—or subject-matter jurisdiction—to adjudicate CoA Institute’s well-pleaded claims in the first instance.

Learn More

Settlement in Federal Trade Commission v. D-Link Systems Includes No Finding of Liability

WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Cause of Action Institute (CoA Institute) announced the resolution its client, D-Link Systems, Inc., has reached with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding the FTC’s allegations about the security practices D-Link Systems used for its products. D-Link Systems is an industry leader in Internet of Things (IoT) and networking solutions.

Learn More

Supreme Court Expands FOIA Exemption 4, Cramping Government Oversight and Marring Text

Washington, D.C. (June 24, 2019) – Cause of Action Institute (CoA Institute) today released the following statement regarding the Supreme Court’s decision in FMI v. Argus Leader, a case considering the scope of Exemption 4 under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which will impact all FOIA requesters including news media, individuals, and government transparency groups:

Learn More