BLOG
February 11, 2015

CREW Continues Winning Streak with Latest Award of Attorneys’ Fees

By Anne Weismann

LegalIn yet another victory for CREW, United States District Court Judge Christopher R. Cooper issued an opinion today awarding CREW $35,018 in attorneys’ fees for its time spent litigating access to records about convicted lobbyist Paul Magliocchetti, CREW v. Dep’t of Justice, Civil No. 11-00374.  CREW sought records from the Department of Justice’s closed investigative files under the FOIA, and sued the agency when it refused to produce anything on privacy grounds.  The district judge agreed with CREW that the public interest in the documents outweighed the agency’s claim of broad privacy rights, and ordered DOJ to process the request and release all non-exempt documents to CREW.  Based on that order, CREW received hundreds of pages of documents that led to substantial press coverage about what CREW had uncovered concerning the prosecution of Mr. Magliocchetti and what Judge Cooper referred to, based on a DOJ press release, as “one of the largest federal campaign finance frauds in history.”

On the issue of fees, DOJ did not contest CREW’s entitlement to fees or the hours for which CREW was seeking reimbursement.   DOJ did, however, contest the hourly rates the court should apply, arguing they should be based on rates maintained by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia that are derived from the overall Consumer Price Index for the Washington-Baltimore area.  CREW urged the court to instead accept rates derived from the legal services component of the CPI, which best approximate the hourly billing rates for Washington, D.C. attorneys engaged in the kind of complex litigation at issue here.

Judge Cooper accepted the hourly rate proposed by CREW, which he then reduced by 15 percent to account for the differences between what law firms report as their hourly rates, and what they actual recover.  As a result, he ordered DOJ to pay CREW a total of $35,018 in fees and costs.

This decision joins a growing list of others where CREW had to litigate both its entitlement under the FOIA to records of closed investigations of public officials and individuals like Mr. Magliocchetti as well as to fees incurred by that litigation. 

Republican AG Group Bails Out Super PAC That Targeted Tancredo

With its debts paid off, it is unknown whether the Campaign for Jobs and Opportunity will continue to intervene in primaries. Read More ›

New FOIA Legislation — The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

From our perspective one thing is clear: Meaningful FOIA reform must address the areas of greatest abuse, which include an overuse of Exemption 5. Read More ›

FEC Dismisses Complaint Against CREW

CREW agrees this frivolous complaint properly was dismissed, and we strongly take issue with any suggestion that any of CREW’s statements or activities constituted an independent expenditure. Read More ›

Freedom Partners Quietly Reveals Spending $22 Million in the Final Two Months of 2013

In two months, the group at the center of the Koch Brothers' network spent more than 44 percent of what it spent in the 12 prior months. Read More ›

Georgia Governor’s Re-Election Pays Off for Daughter-In-Law’s Company

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal's re-election campaign paid $1.3 million during the 2014 election cycle to a company owned by the governor's daughter-in-law. Read More ›

© 2015 Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, all rights reserved.
• 455 Massachusetts Avenue NW • Sixth Floor • Washington, DC 20001 • 202-408-5565 •


Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington®, and the
“CREW | Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington” wordmark are registered trademarks.