On January 29, 2019, CREW, along with six other government watchdog organizations, submitted comments urging the Department of Interior not to adopt a proposed rule that would make it significantly harder for the public to obtain records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Under the Trump Administration, Interior and former Secretary Ryan Zinke amassed a litany of ethics scandals and no less than 18 federal investigations. It should come as no surprise, then, that the agency has experienced an uptick in FOIA requests. Yet instead of reallocating agency resources to better fulfill its FOIA responsibilities, Interior wants to change the rules to further restrict access to public records. These changes are not only bad policy, but they violate FOIA itself. The proposed rule should not be adopted.