National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

DC Court Rules Officials Must Turn Over Personal Emails In FOIA Requests

The D.C. Superior Court has ruled that city officials engaging in business on personal email accounts to circumvent government transparency must surrender those emails in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

According to The Washington City Paper, D.C. residents suspicious over Commissioner Dianne Barnes’ support for the McMillan Sand Filtration site in Ward 5 wanted a closer look at Barnes’ communications, and filed multiple FOIA requests to do so.

Judge Stewart Nash rejected the argument by the D.C. Attorney General’s office that personal emails aren’t subject to FOIA requests. The office asked the court to follow federal government guidelines in deciding the case, and rule that emails ”maintained on a non-governmental e-mail account, [do] not qualify as agency records subject to production under FOIA.” Continue>>>