Wild horse advocates take on BLM over release of information

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Wild horses in Wyoming.
Wild horses in Wyoming. © BLM

A wild horse advocacy group is backing three lawsuits challenging the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over its treatment of requests for information.

The Wild Horse Freedom Federation alleges that the BLM has violated its duties under the Freedom of Information Act.

The federation says it is funding three lawsuits alleging breaches of duty by the BLM in respect of its responsibilities under the act.

The nonprofit group says the records sought are in connection with the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program.

The vice-president and director of the federation, Debbie Coffey, is the plaintiff in the cases.

The lawsuits are pending in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington, DC.

Attorneys Daniel Stotter, of Corvallis, Oregon, and Peter Sorenson, of Eugene, Oregon filed the lawsuits.

The federation’s president and co-founder, R.T. Fitch, said the organization was serving in a “watchdog” capacity over the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program.

“Unimpeded transparency of federal government agencies is the cornerstone of democracy,” he said.

The group cited a memorandum President Barack Obama sent to the heads of executive departments and agencies in 2009 regarding an open and transparent government, stating that, “Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing.”

Obama continued: “The government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by the disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears.

“Nondisclosure should never be based on an effort to protect the personal interests of Government officials at the expense of those they are supposed to serve.”

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2 thoughts on “Wild horse advocates take on BLM over release of information

  • June 9, 2016 at 10:51 am
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    This is excellent news! If the BLM was not doing anything illegal then they would have no reason to hide the facts … but they have operated on lies and deceit for so long that they don’t even know what is the truth anymore and they certainly do not want the public to have the proof of their guilt. I personally have a FOIA request that has been ongoing since October of 2012 and is still not complete and information I requested has still not been provided to me – long story.
    Even though it can often seem to be overwhelming, we MUST continue to do whatever little or big thing we can do to speak for our wild ones. Congratulations and thank you to Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

    Reply
  • June 9, 2016 at 10:58 am
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    By the way, if any employee of the US Department of Interior / Bureau of Land Management is caught making false statements or concealing information, then they are in violation of Title 18 (18 U.S.C. § 1001). Making false statements (18 U.S.C. § 1001) is the common name for the United States federal crime laid out in Section 1001 of Title 18 of the United States Code, which generally prohibits knowingly and willfully making false or fraudulent statements, or concealing information, in “any matter within the jurisdiction” of the federal government of the United States, even by mere denial
    18 U.S. Code § 1519 – Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in Federal
    investigations
    Current through Pub. L. 114-38. (See Public Laws for the current Congress.)
    US Code Per the US Department of Justice, the purpose of Section 1001 is “to protect the authorized functions of governmental departments and agencies from the perversion which might result from” concealment of material facts and from false material representations.

    Reply

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