Fully five years ago, I noted that the cavalier treatment by government officials of FOIA requests made by opponents of government policy revealed a degree of self-righteousness that was both offensive and self-defeating – because it undermines support for the very policies that those officials were pursuing.
It now seems as though little has changed – except that now a federal judge has taken the time to put on record his dissatisfaction with how EPA responds to FOIA requests. In a decision yesterday, Judge Royce Lamberth actually denied sanctions against EPA. Nonetheless, he was so upset by EPA’s handling of the FOIA request at issue that he spent 25 pages detailing just how poorly EPA responded. His bottom line?
It is plain to this Court that EPA perceives [plaintiff] as an enemy, rather than ‘a rightful participant in a FOIA regime….’ This Court would implore the Executive Branch to take greater responsibility in ensuring that all EPA FOIA requests – regardless of the political affiliation of the requester – are treated with equal respect and conscientiousness.
To which I can only say, amen.