Federal Appeals Court Rules that Government Agencies Must Make an Actual "Determination" in Response to FOIA Requests

The D.C. Circuit Court reversed a lower court decision and sided with the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington in a case concerning an agency's obligation to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request. CREW argued that the Federal Election Commission's response to its FOIA request did not meet the statutory obligations of a "determination" under the Act. The federal appeals court held that an agency must make and communicate its determination whether to comply with a FOIA request, and which exemptions if any it will claim with respect to any withheld documents, within 20 working days of receiving the request, or within 30 days in exceptional circumstances. EPIC joined five other prominent open government groups in a "friend of the court" brief in support of CREW. For more information, see EPIC: Open Government.

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