CREW v. Department of Education
On October 7, 2010, CREW sued the Department of Education for failing to provide CREW records under the Freedom of Information Act related to communications about or with specified individuals and entities regarding the for-profit education industry. CREW made this request in the wake of press reports that a number of individuals were attempting to influence Education's regulation of the for-profit industry to further these individuals’ own financial interests.
On November 26, 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer issued an opinion and order granting the Department of Education’s motion for summary judgment in CREW v. Dep’t of Education (D.D.C.). This case was based on a Freedom of Information Act request CREW made of Education for documents related to the agency’s promulgation of controversial regulations governing the for-profit education industry. Education was forced to conduct multiple searches for responsive records when CREW pointed out the deficiencies of its searches, including its failure to search agency-wide for all responsive emails. The court rejected CREW’s argument that Education still had not conducted an adequate search, particularly for emails of Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Judge Collyer also rejected CREW’s challenge to the agency’s reliance on FOIA Exemption 5 to protect documents generated before the agency issued final regulations, finding they retained their deliberative character even after the final agency decision. Through this FOIA request CREW was able to obtain documents that revealed the depth of influence outsiders like hedge fund manager Steven Eisman had on the regulatory process.