A new analysis by Western Values Project discovered that major media outlets including The Washington Post, The Associated Press, Politico, The Hill and others, as well as watchdog organizations, were subject to the political awareness review, causing delays and, in some cases, limiting responsive public documents being released.
View the analysis HERE.
“Secretary Bernhardt and his team clearly are engaged in a political attempt to withhold public information, trying to cover their record of favors for special interests. The public deserves full transparency about decisions on who wins and who loses when it comes to our public lands,” said Chris Saeger, Western Values Project Executive Director.
Last week, Western Values Project joined with a coalition of four other watchdog groups requesting in an investigation by the Inspector General. Earthjustice also filed a request for an investigation. Both requests cited instances where responsive public documents ended up being withheld by Interior officials.
After first identifying Interior’s political “awareness review” process of public document requests, Western Values Project submitted a series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to determine if previous requests had been subjected to the newly established review process.
Analysis of the public documents released by the National Parks Service (NPS) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) about the department’s political “awareness review” process can be found here.