DC Court of Appeals Orders Secret Service to Show Cause in Two Cases Over CREW FOIAs

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Matt Jacob
Phone: 202.408.5565

DC Court of Appeals Orders Secret Service to Show Cause in Two Cases Over CREW FOIAs

WASHINGTON - On April 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an order requiring the Secret Service to show cause why its appeals in two cases concerning CREW's requests for White House visitor logs should not be dismissed for lack of appellate jurisdiction. In response to CREW's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for White House visitor records of specified individuals, the Secret Service argued the records are presidential, not agency records, and therefore not subject to release under the FOIA. After losing this issue before District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth, the government appealed - only to have the D.C. Circuit rule the appeal was premature because the government had not yet been ordered to produce any documents.

On remand, the Secret Service continued to assert the requested records are presidential but also claimed it could neither confirm nor deny the existence of any responsive records (a "Glomar" denial) because to merely reveal the identities of visitors to the president and vice president might reveal privileged information about the subject of those visits. Once again, Judge Lamberth ruled the records are in fact agency records, rejected the Glomar denial, and ordered the government to process CREW's requests immediately and produce all non-exempt records. The government filed appeals and now the D.C. Circuit appears to view the current appeals as premature because the district court has not issued any order purporting to be a "final judgment." The government must respond to the D.C. Circuit's show cause order within 30 days.

Read The Court of Appeals' order in the Related Documents section on the right.

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Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials -- regardless of party affiliation -- who sacrifice the common good to special interests. CREW advances its mission using a combination of research, litigation and media outreach.

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