White House rejects administrative appeal on FOIA request for CRS study of ACTA

KEI just received the attached letter from the Executive Office of the President's Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) rejecting our appeal of USTRs decision to withhold a study by the Library of Congress' Congressional Research Service on ACTA that was done for Senator Wyden.

http://keionline.org/sites/default/files/USTR_20April2011_FOIA_APPEAL--CaseFile_no_10101455.pdf

(For more background on this dispute, see: http://keionline.org/node/1103 and http://keionline.org/node/969).

In our appeal, we said that "no evidence exists that Senator Wyden's office put any conditions or limitations on USTR's use of the report." In rejecting our administrative appeal, USTR said:

"The [USTR FOIA Appeals] Committee undertook a comprehenive review of the circumstance of the creation of the document at issue and the conditions under which it was sent to USTR, including through statements provided by members of USTSR's Office and Congressional Affairs and Office of Intellectual Property and Innovation. The Committee concludes that Congress intended to retain control over this document and that it is not an agency record subject to FOIA.

Senator Wyden's office earlier had told us they did not put any restrictions on access to the document.

KEI now has the option of filing an appeal in a US District Court.

To be very blunt, the White House is trying to suppress an independent analysis by the Library of Congress on the question of whether or not ACTA is consistent with US law.

Update: KEI does plan to appeal the decision to the US District Court.

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