Created by CREW

CREW v. DOJ: Regarding Documents in Closed Investigation of Rep. Don Young

On September 6, 2011, CREW filed an opposition and cross-motion for partial summary judgment in our lawsuit against the Department of Justice seeking documents under the FOIA related to DOJ’s investigation of Rep. Don Young (R-AK) concerning allegations of bribery and other illegal conduct, CREW v. Dep’t of Justice, Civil No. 11-0754 (D.D.C). DOJ has refused to search for and release any single document, claiming all of its investigative files in this matter are categorically exempt from disclosure because of Rep. Young’s privacy interests. In its opposition, CREW argued that much already is in the public domain about Rep. Young’s conduct, particularly as pertains to earmarks he made for certain improvements to Florida’s Interstate 75 (the Coconut Road earmark). Indeed, Congress took the unprecedented step of directing DOJ in legislation to conduct an investigation into this matter. Further, in August 2010, Rep. Young’s office issued a press release stating DOJ had advised Rep. Young it had concluded its investigation and declined to prosecute the Congressman. Given these events Rep. Young’s privacy interests clearly are outweighed by the substantial public interest in learning whether and how DOJ fulfilled its explicit statutory mandate to conduct an investigation and make a determination about Rep. Young’s conduct.