A Federal appeals court has ruled that an agency head’s email records that are stored on a private, non-government server are nevertheless official agency records reachable by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
In a case of great significance for federal employees, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit overturned a lower court decision and ruled that “an agency cannot shield its records from search or disclosure” under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) “by the expedient of storing them in a private email account.” The author summarizes the case and what it means for federal workers.
The district court has ordered discovery in another Freedom of Information Act case where the actions of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, part of the White House, in responding to a document request are characterized by the court as “inconsistent” and a “rare case where discovery is warranted.”
The number of FOIA requests made to agencies is generally down and the responses by agencies are getting faster.