Current Litigation – Enforcing Our Right to Public Information

American Oversight has filed over 40 lawsuits against the Trump administration – suing to enforce our own requests for information as well as representing other plaintiffs. Details about all of our ongoing investigations, along with the documents that we have uncovered, can be found here. Below is a list of every lawsuit filed by American Oversight along with links to the related complaints, FOIAs, and documents. Click here to view lawsuits that have been settled.

DOJ’s Letter to Encourage Voter Purging
Brennan Center v. DOJ (18-1841)

Represented by American Oversight, the Brennan Center for Justice is suing DOJ for refusing to turn over documents related to a letter DOJ sent asking for detailed information about how states maintain their voter rolls, which could have led to voter purging.

Navient Student Loan Provider Lawsuit Against CFPB
National Student Legal Defense Network v. ED (18-1803)

Lawsuit on behalf of The National Student Legal Defense Network (NSLDN) against the Department of Education (ED) to shed light on its role in aiding Navient, a giant servicer of federal student loans, to defend an enforcement action brought by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in federal court.

CFPB Nominee Kraninger Records
Allied Progress v. OMB and CFPB (18-1728)

American Oversight’s lawsuit representing Allied Progress, an organization suing to uncover the records related to CFPB nominee Kathy Kraninger.

Supreme Court Nominee Kavanaugh’s Time in Government
Fix the Court v. NARA and DOJ (18-1620, 18-1621)

American Oversight’s lawsuit representing Fix the Court asks DOJ for correspondence between the Office of Legal Counsel and Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh during the years he worked in the White House. A second lawsuit is asking NARA to records related to Kavanaugh’s time working for Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr to shed light on his time in government before the Senate confirmation vote.

HHS Records on the Administration’s Family Separation Policy
American Oversight v. HHS (18-509)

Lawsuit filed on behalf of Equity Forward against the Department of Health and Human Services to compel the release of records relating to the Trump administration’s policy of separating and detaining the children of immigrants arrested attempting to enter the United States.

Student Loan Provider Abuses
National Student Legal Defense Network v. ED  (18-1464)

American Oversight filed a lawsuit on behalf of The National Student Legal Defense Network (NSLDN), who sued ED to obtain communications regarding the administration’s attempt to block states from using consumer protection laws to crack down on abuses by student loan servicers.

CBP’s Use of the Hashtag #CatchOfTheDay 
American Oversight’s v. DHS and CBP (18-1344, 18-1337)

American Oversight’s lawsuit against Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to shed light on its use of a Twitter hashtag to publicize the arrest of undocumented immigrants. American Oversight also filed a lawsuit against DHS asking for the same information.

Communications Between McConnell and DOT
American Oversight v. DOT (18-1272)

American Oversight is using DOT to obtain emails and other communications between the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Senator Mitch McConnell’s office.

Secretary Zinke’s Offshore Drilling Plan:
American Oversight v. DOI (18-1216)

American Oversight is suing the Department of the Interior (DOI) to shed light on its decision to exempt Florida from its offshore drilling plan. American Oversight’s suit seeks emails and other records related to offshore drilling in 14 coastal states including Florida.

Scott Pruitt and Nino Perrotta Spending Records
American Oversight v. EPA (18-893)

American Oversight is suing EPA seeking records of waivers authorizing Pruitt and Perrotta to spend taxpayer funds on first class plane tickets; records related to the acquisition of a new vehicle to transport Pruitt; and records of any communications between Perrotta and his business partner, Edwin Steinmetz.

HUD’s Relationship with Sinclair Broadcast Group
American Oversight v. HUD (18-793)

American Oversight is suing the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the release of records related to HUD’s communications with conservative media personality Armstrong Williams and Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Trump Cabinet Air Travel on Government Jets
American Oversight v. DOD, FAA, and GSA (18-787)

American Oversight is suing to uncover records of senior Trump administration officials’ use of taxpayer-funded travel on government-owned aircraft following reports of inappropriate taxpayer travel by Secretary Mnuchin, Administrator Pruitt, and Secretary Zinke.

Campaign for Accountability: Documents Linked to Superfund Report Suppressed by Pruitt
American Oversight v. Environmental Protection Agency (18-783)

American Oversight is representing Campaign for Accountability in a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in order to compel the release of records related to the Tar Creek Superfund site in northeastern Oklahoma, specifically records related to a report of criminal wrongdoing that was blocked from being released to the public when Scott Pruitt was Attorney General.

Trump Administration Appointee Resumes and Job Titles – Updated
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs et.al. (18-656)

American Oversight is suing 18 agencies to force the release of resumes for political appointees across the Trump administration. This is the second lawsuit that American Oversight has filed seeking appointee resumes. FOIA requests included in this complaint cover appointees who joined the administration in the time period follow the first sets of resumes we obtained in 2017.

Trump’s Cabinet Office Renovation Expenses
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Agriculture et.al. (18-568)

American Oversight is suing 16 cabinet-level agencies to uncover records of expenditures for upgrades, furniture, or other renovations for the offices of senior political appointees. Agencies named in this lawsuit are: Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, HHS, Justice, Labor, State, Interior, Treasury, Transportation, Veterans Affairs, GSA, and OMB.

Seema Verma’s Recusals and Potential Conflicts of Interest
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (18-549)

American Oversight is suing HHS and CMS to determine if CMS Administrator Seema Verma has complied with the terms of her recusal agreements regarding her former consulting clients.

Senior Officials’ Calendars at Numerous Agencies
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Commerce et al. (18-534)

American Oversight is suing Commerce, Education, DOE, EPA, DHS, Interior, Labor, DOT, HHS, HUD, SBA, State, Treasury, and USDA for the release of calendars of senior political appointees.

DOJ’s Secret Carter Page Surveillance Warrants
American Oversight and Dominique Bravo v. U.S. Department of Justice (18-1414)

American Oversight and Dominique Bravo are suing the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the release of secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications—which established that an individual associated with the Trump campaign was engaged in a crime or was a foreign agent—that DOJ filed to conduct surveillance on former Trump campaign staffer Carter Page.

Carson Family Influence at HUD
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (18-512)

American Oversight is suing the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) over communications from Secretary Ben Carson, his wife and son, and senior political appointees including Lynne Patton. Carson’s family members, particularly his son, have played an active role in HUD’s business; Carson Jr. has given his business contacts unprecedented access to the secretary and the department.

Investigating HUD’s Taxpayer-Funded Office Redecoration
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (18-468)

American Oversight is suing the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the release of expenditures and communications related to redecorating or renovating Secretary Ben Carson’s office.

EPA’s Refusal to Comply with Freedom of Information Act Requests
American Oversight v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (18-364)

American Oversight is suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to seek an injunction to stop the EPA from continuing its practice of denying reasonably described Freedom of Information Act requests.

DOJ’s Reversal of Positions under the Trump Administration
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Justice (18-355)

American Oversight is suing the Department of Justice (DOJ) for communications and other records related to 22 cases in which DOJ reversed its previous position after the Trump administration took office. The suit seeks the release of communications between Deputy Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio and counsel for the other parties in those cases. This suit is part of a larger investigation into the politicization of the Department of Justice.

Investigating DOJ’s Decision to Re-Open Uranium One Investigation
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Justice (18-319)

American Oversight is suing the Department of Justice (DOJ) over the release of records related to DOJ’s decision to re-open an investigation into Uranium One and Hillary Clinton. The suit seeks records evaluating legal-ethics issues and recusal obligations related to the Attorney General’s participation in the decision. This suit is part of a larger investigation into the politicization of the Department of Justice.

Border Wall Emails Between DHS and White House, States, Conservative Media
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (18-305)

American Oversight is suing for the release of emails and other communications related to President Trump’s proposed border wall sent between officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and individuals within the White House, border state governments, anti-immigration activist groups, and conservative media outlets including Breitbart and Fox News. This suit is part of the Audit the Wall investigation.

Campaign for Accountability: Exposing Efforts to Restrict Abortion Rights of Immigrant Minors
Campaign for Accountability v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (18-248)

American Oversight is representing Campaign for Accountability in a suit seeking the release of records from the Office of Refugee Resettlement regarding efforts to prevent unaccompanied immigrant minors from exercising their constitutional rights to abortion.

Equity Forward: Exposing Efforts to Restrict Abortion Rights of Immigrant Minors
Equity Forward v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (18-241)

American Oversight is representing Equity Forward in a suit seeking the release of records from the Office of Refugee Resettlement regarding efforts to prevent unaccompanied immigrant minors from exercising their constitutional rights to abortion.

The Leak of the Strzok-Page Text Messages
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Justice (18-224)

American Oversight is suing for the release of text messages exchanged between Department of Justice employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page along with records relating to the decision by senior DOJ officials to share the messages with reporters. This suit is part of a larger investigation into the politicization of the Department of Justice.

Investigating the Politicization of Criminal and Security Investigations
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Justice (18-166)

American Oversight is suing for records that indicate the extent to which senior political appointees—including those in the Office of the Attorney General—are inappropriately steering criminal and national security investigations. This suit is part of a larger investigation into the politicization of the Department of Justice.

MyPillow’s Federal Contract
American Oversight v. U.S. General Services Administration (18-160)

American Oversight is suing for records to explain why the General Services Administration (GSA) abruptly modified MyPillow’s government contract just a few days after President Trump endorsed the company’s product at a White House roundtable. The CEO of MyPillow, a pillow manufacturing company, had previously donated a significant amount of money to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee.

Political Appointee Pledges
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (18-146)

American Oversight is suing to determine whether political appointees at the Department of Health and Human Services are required to take any partisan oaths or pledges prior to employment.

Trump Administration’s Transgender Military Ban
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Defense et al. (17-2707)

American Oversight is suing the Department of Defense for records of any recommendations or analysis provided by senior military and DOD officials to the White House regarding a ban on transgender individuals in the military prior to President Trump’s TK MONTH 2017 tweeted announcement of the ban. The lawsuit also seeks communications among upper-level military personnel immediately following the president’s unexpected tweets.

Scott Pruitt’s Office Renovation Expenses
American Oversight v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (17-2599)

American Oversight is suing the EPA for records demonstrating how much Administrator Scott Pruitt has spent or intends to spend on renovating his office. News reports have indicated that Pruitt has spent more than $25,000 on a secure phone booth and at least $6,000 installing biometric locks in his office.

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap: Accessing Voter Fraud Commission Documents
Dunlap v. Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity et al. (17-2361)

American Oversight is representing Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, who served as a member of the president’s voter fraud commission, in a suit seeking access to commission records to which he is legally entitled. In January 2018, after a federal judge ruled that Dunlap could not be excluded from participating in the commission’s deliberations, President Trump dissolved the commission. American Oversight is continuing to support Dunlap in his fight to gain access to the commission’s records.

Mexico Border Wall Payments
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of State (17-2246)

American Oversight is suing for documents and communications with Mexico regarding funding for President Trump’s proposed border wall, including any requests to the Mexican government for payment or reimbursement. This suit is part of the Audit the Wall investigation.

Investigating the Roll Back of Overtime and Fiduciary Rules
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Labor (17-2199)

American Oversight is suing for records related the Trump administration’s attempts to roll back two regulations that would protect workers and consumers: the Overtime Rule, which would expand the number of employees eligible for overtime pay; and the Conflict of Interest Rule, which would require financial advisors to act in their investors’ best interests.

Management of Housing and Urban Development
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (17-2093)

American Oversight is suing to enforce four Freedom of Information Act requests seeking: records of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson’s son, Ben Carson, Jr., and his company’s presence in the department; communications between senior officials and President Trump’s nephew, Fred Trump III, a real estate developer who may have a financial interest in the department’s work; decision memos and policies approved by Secretary Carson; and communications about Freedom of Information Act requests by political appointees.

Uncovering the Backroom Deals Behind Tax Reform
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of the Treasury and Office of Management and Budget (17-2078)

American Oversight is suing for documents and communications between the agencies, Congress, and outside entities to expose the process that led to the sweeping tax legislation signed into law in late 2017. This suit is part of an investigation into the tax overhaul.

Western Values Project: Lola Zinke’s Role at Interior
Western Values Project v. U.S. Department of the Interior (17-2070)

American Oversight is representing Western Values Project in a suit seeking to uncover records showing the role that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s wife, Lola Zinke, plays at the department, including her use of tax-payer funded travel. This suit is part of an investigation into Secretary Zinke’s management of Interior.

Disclosing Public Records Sent Between Congress and Agencies
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of the Treasury (17-1622)

American Oversight is suing to force the release of communications between the Treasury Department and the House Financial Services Committee. The suit challenges Committee Chairman Hensarling’s assertion that communications between the Committee and federal agencies are not subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. This suit is part of American Oversight’s investigation into the government’s shielding of public records.

Investigating the Sabotage of the Affordable Care Act
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Office of Management and Budget (17-1448)

American Oversight is suing for the release of a March 2017 letter from President Trump to House Republicans outlining a potential plan to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. This suit is part of American Oversight’s investigation into health care legislation.

Trump International Hotel Lease Records
American Oversight v. U.S. General Services Administration (17-1267)

American Oversight is suing for communications and documents to better understand the conflicts of interest raised by the president’s ownership of the Trump International Hotel. The General Services Administration has failed to explain why President Trump’s ownership does not violate his lease on the government-owned building, which explicitly prohibits elected officials from profiting. This suit is part of American Oversight’s investigation into ways the president and his family are profiting from the presidency.

EPA Leadership Calendars and Communications
American Oversight v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (17-1261)

American Oversight is suing for documents, calendars, and communications from top Environmental Protection Agency officials—including Administrator Scott Pruitt—to see how they spend their time and who they meet with. In particular, the suit seeks communications with investor and former White House advisor Carl Icahn, who may have used his role to advocate for regulatory changes benefitting him financially. This suit is part of American Oversight’s investigation into Scott Pruitt’s mismanagement of the EPA.

Department of Education Leadership Calendars and Communications
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Education (17-1247)

American Oversight is suing for documents, calendars, and communications from top Department of Education officials—including Secretary Betsy DeVos—to see how they spend their time and who they meet with. The suit also asks for calendars, recusals, and communications regarding Taylor Hansen and Robert Eitel, former for-profit education industry insiders now employed by the agency. This suit is part of American Oversight’s investigation into industry influence at the Department of Education.

Mexico Border Wall Construction and Impact
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security et al. (17-1187)

American Oversight is suing the Departments of Homeland Security, the Department of the Interior, and the Office of Management and Budget to obtain documents, communications, and plans related to President Trump’s proposed border wall’s construction and potential impact on landowners, the environment, and national security. This suit is part of the Audit the Wall investigation.

Communications Between Ivanka Trump and Agencies
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Commerce et al. (17-920)

American Oversight is suing five agencies to obtain emails between the departments and Ivanka Trump prior to her formal employment as a federal official. The suit aims to clarify the nature of Ms. Trump’s role, and is part of our investigation into Ms. Trump and Jared Kushner’s roles in the White House.

Solicitor General’s Ethics Records
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Justice (17-848)

American Oversight is suing to obtain records related to Solicitor General Noel Francisco’s participation in the defense of President Trump’s “Muslim ban” after Francisco’s former law firm became involved in the case to determine whether he properly navigated potential ethics conflicts. This suit is part of an investigation into President Trump’s political appointees.

Obamacare Repeal Negotiations
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Office of Management and Budget (17-827)

American Oversight is suing to uncover communications between the agencies and Congress and regarding the behind-the-scenes negotiations during the 2017 attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The House of Representatives has also intervened in the lawsuit to argue that several documents should be withheld from the public, with potentially wide-ranging implications for the Freedom of Information Act. This suit is part of American Oversight’s investigation into the health care repeal effort.

Sessions’ Clearance Form and Priebus’ FBI Interference
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation (17-727)

American Oversight sued for the release of the page of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ security clearance application on which he failed to disclose his Russian contacts, and for records of former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus’ interference at the FBI. This suit is part of American Oversight’s investigation into Russian interference in the American political process and the administration’s response.

Closed Litigation

The following lawsuits have been settled, and American Oversight is no longer expecting documents to be produced in response to the underlying FOIA requests.

FBI’s Advice to Sessions on Clearance Form
People for the American Way v. U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation (17-1865)

American Oversight represented People for the American Way in a suit to enforce their request for all records relating to instructions given by the FBI to Attorney General Sessions regarding which contacts with foreign individual to list on his security clearance application. This suit followed American Oversight’s investigation which uncovered proof that Sessions had omitted his foreign contacts from the SF-86 clearance application.

The case was voluntarily dismissed by all parties following the FBI’s production of a single email indicating that an agency employee did not recall providing Attorney General Sessions advice on omitting foreign contacts.

Telecom Industry Role in Net Neutrality Discussions
American Oversight v. Federal Communications Commission (17-1492)

American Oversight sued for records and communications showing the telecommunications industry’s influence on the FCC’s decision to roll back net neutrality protections. This suit was part of American Oversight’s investigation into the administration’s move to undo net neutrality.

Investigating EPA’s Acceptance of Toxic Pesticides
American Oversight v. Environmental Protection Agency (17-1227)

American Oversight sued for the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s communications with Congress and outside entities about the agency’s decision to overrule the recommendations of its science advisers and allow the use of the harmful pesticide chlorpyrifos. This suit was part of American Oversight’s investigation into Scott Pruitt’s mismanagement of the EPA.

Trump’s Appointees and Agency Leadership
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of the Interior et al. (17-958)

American Oversight sued eight federal agencies to force the release of the names of all employees appointed by President Trump, all employees in leadership offices, and all members of the “beachhead” and transition teams, and resumes and ethics waivers for those individuals. This suit was part of an investigation into President Trump’s political appointees.

Investigating Trump’s Wiretapping Claim
American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigations (17-718)

American Oversight sued for any records and communications related to President Trump’s assertion that he was wiretapped by former President Barack Obama. This suit was part of American Oversight’s investigation into Russian interference in the American political process and the administration’s response.