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Investigative Reporting Workshop
January 18, 2018

FOIA lawsuits up 26 percent in Trump's first year
By David Rodriquez

During fiscal year 2017, which began Oct. 1, 2016, 651 cases were filed, according to a report released Wednesday by The FOIA Project. News media and nonprofit organizations played a significant role in the increase of these lawsuits. The FOIA Project, a program of the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, tracks data on FOIA lawsuits and reports trends in FOIA litigation. So far, the long-term trend is upward, said Susan Long, co-director of TRAC. “What we saw was that nonprofit’s [FOIA lawsuits are] just increasing and increasing.” An earlier report, released in July by the FOIA Project, also found a jump in FOIA lawsuits from nonprofit organizations and news media. Long said that news media FOIA suits didn’t increase until the later years of the Obama administration. This week’s report shows that the number of FOIA lawsuits has increased 70 percent over the last five years. At just under 900 cases, the backlog of pending FOIA lawsuits continues to grow.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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