ICYMI: House Goes to Court to Protect Secrecy of Records

US House Official Seal 09-2017.png

Politico's Josh Gerstein reports:

"The House of Representatives is taking legal action to make sure that federal agencies don’t release congressional records to the public through the Freedom of Information Act.
"The move, which came Friday evening in a lawsuit demanding access to discussions about health care reform between the Trump administration and Congress, threatens to cut off a mechanism liberal watchdog groups were using to gain insight into closed-door negotiations on a variety of policy issues.
"In legal papers filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, House General Counsel Thomas Hungar said the move to protect congressional correspondence was authorized by a House body known as the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group. While the panel of top House leaders has divided in the past on sensitive issues, Hungar wrote that they 'voted unanimously to authorize this intervention … to protect the institutional interests of the House.'
"Hungar complained that last week the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Management and Budget gave the liberal group American Oversight four documents that originated with the House Ways and Means Committee. He argued that legal precedents established that congressional documents were exempt from disclosures pursuant to FOIA...."

Read more at http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/15/house-moves-to-block-access-to-records-foia-242791

ICYMI, Michael Stern, former senior counsel for the House of  Representatives, explains the legal aspects of this story at  http://www.pointoforder.com/2017/07/08/can-house-committees-exempt-their-oversight-correspondence-from-foia/.