Requests in FOIAengine Show Groups Watching the FTC
- January 10, 2024
John A. Jenkins, Law Street Media
When the Federal Trade Commission joined the Justice Department last month in announcing new merger guidelines, two years in the making, the revised rules of the road were a warning to acquisitive corporations: Merge at your peril.
Protect the Public’s Trust filed 10 FOIA requests with the FTC during 2022 and early 2023, the most of any legal activist. When we wrote about this organization last summer (“Republicans Playing the Oppo Game”), there were 296 FOIA requests from the group in FOIAengine, and at least 56 separate FOIA lawsuits in Docket Alarm. In the months since, their total number of FOIA requests has risen to 392, and the number of lawsuits to 61.
Requests to the FTC from Protect the Public’s Trust ran the gamut from “records of communications and meetings sent on encrypted messaging applications [or] conducted between Senator Elizabeth Warren and/or her staff and the FTC officials,” to “communications between Lina Khan and [then-FTC Chief of Staff] Jen Howard” with a long list of organizations including American Bridge to the 21st Century, Center for Public Integrity, Open Markets Institute, and Open Society Foundation. Thus far, the requests don’t appear to have resulted in FOIA litigation. There’s nothing in the IRS or FEC public records about Protect the Public’s Trust, so we don’t know the size of its bankroll.