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.”