FOIA or not?
June 16, 2015 5:27 PM   Subscribe

Federal agencies that are fully taxpayer funded are subject to public records requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). If a non-profit receives money from the federal government, are the records of that non profit subject to FOIA?
posted by CollectiveMind to Law & Government (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
According to The Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press:
Not all entities that receive federal funds are covered by FOIA. For example, entities such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the American Red Cross — both of which receive federal funds but are neither chartered nor controlled by the federal government — are not covered.

The Supreme Court also has ruled that a private organization that is established for the sole purpose of carrying out government research contracts and is totally funded by the federal government is not automatically an “agency” subject to FOIA.
And here's the Supreme Court case:
Under 5 U.S.C. 552 (e) an "agency" is defined as

"any executive department, military department, Government corporation, Government controlled corporation, or other establishment in the executive branch of the Government . . ., or any independent regulatory agency."

The legislative history indicates unequivocally that private organizations receiving federal financial assistance grants are not within the definition of "agency."
posted by willbaude at 5:32 PM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

You can likely submit a FOIA request to the federal government asking for records related to the funding provided to the non-profit. The org will likely be consulted by the agency receiving the FOIA, if not asked for the requested paperwork directly (if FOIA applies). The org will be able to redact a lot of material under the confidential business information statutes. Orgs vary in how much they know about their power to redact under confidentiality exemptions (i.e. that redactions are rarely subject to challenge or review), so you may get FOIA results that are entirely, 100% redacted or you may get FOIA results that have barely been redacted at all.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 8:58 AM on June 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

« Older Venturing out on a Honolulu layover--should I risk...   |   Doing the Garden State Right Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.