Study: Judicial Watch is Number One on FOIA
MARCH 13, 2019
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that since 2001 it has led all nonprofit organizations in filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits, according to figures released late last year by The FOIA Project of Syracuse University.
Judicial Watch makes this announcement in honor of “Sunshine Week,” March 10-16, which is an “annual nationwide celebration of access to public information.”
According to the FOIAproject.org’s most recent study, Judicial Watch was again number one on the top ten list of most frequent Nonprofit/Advocacy Groups (Jan 21, 2001-July 2018) challenging federal government withholding in court and for the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations.
Overall Top 10 FOIA Filers (Jan 21, 2001 – July 2018)
Rank Plaintiff in FOIA Suit Number Filed
|1. Judicial Watch
2. American Civil Liberties Union
3. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility
4. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
5. Electronic Privacy Information Center
6. Natural Resources Defense Council
7. Center for Biological Diversity
8. Cause of Action Institute
9. American Oversight and
10. Electronic Frontier Foundation
The FOIA Project “aims to: (1) create a shaming mechanism by which agencies and officials who ignore the law are held accountable, and (2) arm the public with the full record of FOIA efforts that have and haven’t worked, so anyone can more effectively surmount frequently used roadblocks to public access.”
Judicial Watch Inc., a conservative, nonpartisan educational foundation, uses the open records or freedom of information laws and other tools to uncover misconduct by government officials and hold to account those who engage in corrupt activities. Judicial Watch sues under the FOIA law when agencies balk at releasing information that is of value to the public.
The Freedom of Information Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966 to improve public access to government records. The FOIA Project says there is wide agreement that the FOIA’s administrative process has many flaws, with federal agencies frequently resisting its mandates by either refusing to provide properly requested records or ignoring the requirements that the documents be made available within specified time periods.
The most-sued agency is the Department of Justice, which has been the defendant in 2,312 FOIA suits since 2001. Within the DOJ, the FBI has been the most sued division with 712 suits. Judicial Watch frequently clashes with the DOJ and FBI in court, often in cases involving IRS malfeasance, the Clinton email scandal, and the Robert Mueller special counsel investigation. Judicial Watch currently is pursuing 40 lawsuits against the DOJ.
“Judicial Watch is the most important transparency watchdog organization in the country,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “For 25 years, we’ve led the way in holding the government to account as both the media and Congress have gone AWOL. Most of what we know about government corruption – from Clinton emails to Deep State abuses – are as a result of our historic FOIA lawsuits.”