Since the new administration took office at the end of January 2017, there has been a sharp jump in the number of lawsuits filed by individuals and organizations seeking court orders to obtain federal government records. Suits brought by the news media and nonprofit advocacy organizations have fueled a significant part of this rise. Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), requesters can file suit when information they are seeking is withheld and they have exhausted administrative appeals, or when the agency fails to even respond in a timely manner.
Lawsuits this past fiscal year rose an astonishing 26 percent, and are continuing to climb. FOIA court cases are now up over 70 percent from just five years ago.