Citizens For Responsibility And Ethics In Washington v. Office Of Administration

566 F.3d 219 (2009)


D discovered in October 2005 that entities in the Executive Office of the President (EOP) had lost millions of White House e-mails. P made a FOIA request to D asking for information about the missing e-mails. P sought detained information about EOP's e-mail management system, reports analyzing potential problems with the system, records of retained e-mails and possibly missing ones, documents discussing plans to find the missing e-mails and proposals to institute a new e-mail record system. D initially agreed to produce the records but for P to limit the scope or set a new timetable. P responded that its request was not so broad and refused to compromise. The FOIA's time deadline passed and with no results from D and P filed this action in May 2007. Eventually, D got its act together and refused all requests because D not covered by FOIA because it provides administrative support and services directly to the President and the staff in the EOP, putting it outside FOIA's definition of 'agency.' D filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings. P responded that discovery was needed on the jurisdictional question whether D is covered by FOIA. The district court allowed P to conduct limited jurisdictional discovery. Following discovery, the district court granted D's motion to dismiss; D is not an agency under FOIA because it 'lacks the type of substantial independent authority' this court 'has found indicative of agency status for other EOP components.' P appealed.