Peer Files FOIA Suit Against Interior

January 16, 2008

The Interior Department is responding to allegations of corruption and political interference with wildlife law enforcement by clamming up.

Interior's Office of Inspector General thumbed its nose at the Freedom of Information Act - newly revised by Congress - saying it would not comply with FOIA and inviting the watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) to sue if they didn't like it.

PEER is seeking documents supporting a February 2007 Interior IG report on problems with law enforcement at the Fish & Wildlife Service. The IG's office told PEER that they were not going to comply with the law's requirement for a response within 20 days - or at any specific time in the future.

Beefing up agency compliance with the 20-day deadline was a key purpose of the FOIA amendments enacted by Congress in the last hours of its December 2007 session.