The U.S. Government Is Suing People For Requesting Public Records

The U.S. government is suing citizens requesting public records all over the country, violating the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA). The government is stating that it is in “good faith” to take away more of our rights, intimidate us and delay FOIA requests, thus challenging the notion of transparency and, in turn, the Open Government Initiative.

Throughout the U.S. government, a growing number of organizations, school districts, municipalities, and state agencies have filed lawsuits against citizens for making FOIA requests to obtain public information. The governmental bodies argue that they are doing so to let the court decide a matter that isn’t quite clear legally such as when the documents may be shielded by an exemption or privacy laws. But that’s causing problems, and becoming a new way for governments to hide information from taxpayers and even news organizations or individual journalists.

The practice, although highly ridiculed and uncommon, has been going on for years according to Columbia Journalism Review.

However, recently the Associated Press reported three different cases where the government sued citizens in the last year.

In the first case, an Oregon parent Kim Sordyl and journalist Beth Slovic sought details about Portland Public School employees on paid leave. The school board responded by suing them both, arguing that the records are exempt from disclosure due to the personal privacy of employees.

The second case involved two retired teachers, Dr. James Finney and Mike Deshotels, who were sued by Louisiana Department of Education for trying to get information on the school’s enrollment data relating to economically disadvantaged and English proficiency students. The two eventually ended up winning the case in a settlement but not before fighting for their rights in court to even see the data and spending $3,000 in legal fees.

Finally, the third case highlighting this abusive practice that the publication mentioned was Western Kentucky University suing two newspapers. The University filed a lawsuitagainst its paper, the College Heights Herald and the University of Kentucky campus newspaper, Kentucky Kernel, which sought records related to allegations of sexual harassment and assault involving its faculty. That story titled: “In The Dark: Records shed light on sexual misconduct at Kentucky u... went on to win the University of Georgia’s Betty Gage Holland Award for excellence in college journalism and using a FOIA request to bring the questionable abuse to light.

“It’s appropriate to say it’s troubling the university (WKU) is suing its own newspaper for practicing good journalism,” attorney Michael Abate told the WKU paper, the College Heights Herald. “Even if they have a valid basis for withholding information, they still have to submit redacted documents.”

In 2015 a New Jersey Judge Michael Winkelstein ruled in favor of Harry Scheeler Jr. who was seeking Hamilton Township police surveillance video and was subsequently sued for his request, Columbia Journalism Review reported. In New Jersey, the state has a law called the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) in place of a Freedom of Information request. The judge ruled that such practices of governments counter-suing citizens was the antithesis of OPRA.

Winkelstein found that,

A government lawsuit against requestors subjects them to involuntary litigation with all of its concomitant financial, temporal, and emotional trimmings. A public policy that gives a government agency the right to sue a person who asks for a government document is the antithesis of the OPRA and common-law policy of providing citizens with a means of access to public information to keep government activities open and hold the government accountable.

Earlier this year in Michigan, the state House voted overwhelmingly 108-0 in favor of a billthat would make it illegal for government agencies to sue citizens who request public records.

The legislation was in response to a local county’s lawsuit against a newspaper that was seeking documents on two employees running for sheriff. A judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying the county had to approve or deny the request.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Klint Kesto, called the lawsuit “a backdoor channel to delay and put pressure on the requester” that circumvents the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

“Government shouldn’t file a lawsuit and go on offense. Either approve the request or deny it,” he said. “This shouldn’t be happening anywhere in the country.”

It’s troubling that so many of these requests have resulted in lawsuits against citizens who have a right to know public information under the Freedom of Information Act.

http://www.dcclothesline.com/2017/09/20/the-u-s-government-is-suing...

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ALERT ALERT

YIKES!!! Chelsea Clinton Emphatically States A Person With A Beard And A Penis Can ‘Absolutely’ Identify As A Woman

  • The one issue Hillary and Chelsea don’t appear to agree on entirely is transgender self-identification
  • In an interview with The Sunday Times, journalist Decca Aitkenhead asked the Clintons about transgender self-identification
  • Chelsea Clinton replied ‘yes’ emphatically when asked if someone with a beard and penis can ever be a woman
  • ‘It’s going to take a lot more time and effort to understand what it means to be defining yourself differently,’ Hillary said
  • Aitkenhead said Hillary became ‘uneasy’ when the question was asked while Chelsea shot a ‘furious stare’ at the journalist as her mother answered
  • Hillary added: ‘It’s a very big generational discussion, because this is not something I grew up with or ever saw’

(Daily Mail) – It may appear Hillary and Chelsea Clinton always see eye-to-eye, but in a recent interview one topic cracked the facade of the like-minded mother-daughter power duo.

The one issue Hillary and Chelsea don’t appear to agree on entirely is transgender self-identification.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, journalist Decca Aitkenhead asked the Clintons if someone with a beard and a penis can ever be a woman, to which Chelsea replied emphatically, ‘Yes.’

However, as Aitkenhead describes it, Hillary looked ‘uneasy’, and blamed generational gaps for being less accepting.

‘Errr. I’m just learning about this,’ Hillary responded. ‘It’s a very big generational discussion, because this is not something I grew up with or ever saw. It’s going to take a lot more time and effort to understand what it means to be defining yourself differently.’

The Clintons sat sown with Aitkenhead to promote the book they co-authored, The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience.

The book features Danica Roem, the first trans woman elected to a U.S. state legislature.

According Aitkenhead’s account, she tells Hillary during the interview that many British feminists of Hillary’s generation have a problem with the idea that a ‘lesbian who doesn’t want to sleep with someone who has a penis is transphobic.’

Hillary nods in agreement, while Chelsea ‘stiffens and stares at me’, according to Aitkenhead.

The journalist then adds that many women of Hillary’s generation are uncomfortable with biological males sharing women’s bathrooms.

‘I would say that, absolutely,’ Hillary nods firmly. ‘Absolutely. Yes.’

That’s when Chelsea begins shooting a ‘furious stare’ at Aitkenhead, who points it out to her.

‘I’m a terrible actor’, Chelsea laughs.

Chelsea then says she is thrilled with the National Health Service’s decision to assign patients to single-sex wards according to the gender they identify as, instead of their biological make up.

‘How can you treat someone if you don’t recognize who they feel and know in their core they are?’ Chelsea says.

‘And I strongly support children being able to play on the sports teams that match their own gender identity,’ she adds. ‘I think we need to be doing everything we can to support kids in being whoever they know themselves to be and discovering who they are.’

At this point Hillary looks conflicted.

‘I think you’ve got to be sensitive to how difficult this is,’ Hillary says. ‘There are women who’d say [to a trans woman], ”You know what, you’ve never had the kind of life experiences that I’ve had. So I respect who you are, but don’t tell me you’re the same as me.” I hear that conversation all the time.’

Despite the clear tension in the room, the pair say they don’t argue about this topic.

But according to Aitkenhead, ‘I get the impression they don’t like to present anything less than a united front to the world.’

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