Description: Action to compel response to Freedom of Information Act request to the U.S. Department of Energy seeking Trump transition team questionnaires regarding climate change.
Project Democracy Project, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Energy
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 09/17/2018 Memorandum Opinion and Order Download Parties' motions for summary judgment granted in part and denied in part. Federal Court Said Department of Energy’s Search for Records About Presidential Transition Team’s Climate Change Questions Was Not Adequate. The federal district court for the District of Columbia found that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) had not conducted an adequate search in response to Protect Democracy Project’s Freedom of Information Act request for records created between November 9, 2016 and February 15, 2017 regarding Presidential Transition Team questionnaires about climate change, including communications between DOE employees and specified individuals, including Donald Trump, Rick Perry (now the Secretary of Energy), and various Trump aides and officials. The court concluded, however, that DOE had conducted an adequate search for records created during that period regarding personnel changes, assignments, and policies. The court also found that DOE properly invoked Exemption 6 (concerning personal privacy) to withhold information and, except for three sets of documents, had properly invoked Exemption 5 (the deliberative process privilege). The court withheld judgment on the issue of whether Exemption 5 had been properly invoked for the remaining three sets of documents, which included DOE’s response to the transition team’s questionnaire, documents relating to Secretary Perry’s security clearance, and documents released after Protect Democracy Project filed its cross-motion for summary judgment. 04/27/2017 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Lawsuit Sought Disclosure of Trump Transition Climate Questionnaire Documents at Department of Energy. On April 27, 2017, the Protect Democracy Project, Inc. filed a lawsuit pursuant to the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) asking the federal district court for the District of Columbia to order the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to search for and produce Trump administration transition team questionnaires regarding climate change. The plaintiff submitted a FOIA request for the documents on February 15, 2017. The request also sought records regarding personnel changes, assignments, and assignment policies at DOE.