Monitoring how the government spends tax dollars
On April 22, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader, a long-running case over a 2011 FOIA request by the Sioux Fall Argus Leader, which is seeking records of annual taxpayer payments to businesses participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). ONA, along with 35 other media organizations and press freedom groups, joined an amicus brief led by the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press in support of the Argus Leader.
The brief argues that the Supreme Court should not accept FMI’s interpretation of Exemption 4 to the FOIA, which would allow agencies to withhold anything a private party claims is “confidential” or could result in “negative publicity.” It urges the Court to keep in mind recent amendments to FOIA requiring agencies to disclose information unless they can identify specific “foreseeable harm” from disclosure, and to affirm the decision in favor of the Argus Leader.
ONA is also part of a coalition working to preserve Texas’s anti-SLAPP law, the Texas Citizen Participation Act. This law protects speech on matters of public concern from being silenced by meritless — but expensive — lawsuits. Learn more about the efforts to defend the law.