D.C. Council Can’t Claim FOIA “Speech or Debate” Exemption

The D.C. high court ruled June 9 that an obscure law doesn’t work as an almost total exemption for the D.C. Council from the broad public access requirements of the District’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), extended by the Council to cover itself in 2000.

The law, known as the Legislative Privilege Act, is copied from similar language in the United States Constitution known as the "speech and debate clause" (Article I, Sec. 6) that protects Members of Congress and staff from lawsuits about what they say in their legislative function. Continue…