Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | May 28, 2009

Kentucky environmental lawyer Sanders says Bush Administration’s missing emails will remain secret under appellate court ruling.

Former Vice President Cheney's emails will stay secret.

Former Vice President Cheney's emails will stay secret.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that records of missing e-mail from the Bush White House do not have to be turned over because the office that created them is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

According to the appellate court, the Office of Administration (“OA”) does not meet the definition of a federal agency under the open records law.  Thus, there is no  requirement to comply with the FOIA, which applies to federal agencies.  The appellate opinion can be found here

The original lawsuit started in 2007 when Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (“CREW”), filed a FOIA request for copies of records related to millions of missing White House e-mail messages.  

OA turned over some records after CREW filed a lawsuit in federal district court to compel disclosure.  However, the OA refused to release the records being held back and and took the position in district court that OA was not covered by the FOIA statute.  Thus, OA did not have to comply with the FOIA request.

A federal district court agreed with the Bush Administration’s position in June 2008 and dismissed CREW’s lawsuit. The appellate court’s ruling has now upheld that lower court’s decision.

For all those who wondered, the Office of Administration was established by Executive Order on December 12, 1977. The organization’s mission is to provide administrative services to all entities of the Executive Office of the President (EOP), including direct support services to the President of the United States.

The services include financial management and information technology support, human resources management, library and research assistance, facilities management, procurement, printing and graphics support, security, and mail and messenger operations.

OA’s Director of the organization oversees the submission of the annual EOP Budget Request and represents the organization before congressional funding panels.

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