The NSA and FBI are major contributors to EPIC — the Electronic Privacy Information Center. But their “donations” aren’t exactly voluntary.
A hefty chunk of EPIC’s legal budget is taken from the pockets of the very agencies it sues, each time a federal judge agrees that the government was wrong to keep the information secret.
In the last 15 years, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has netted more than $150,000 from government agencies in attorneys’ fees and litigation costs from its Freedom of Information Act cases.
It’s a testament to how desperate the government is to withhold information from the American public. It’s also a revenue stream.
Some members of Congress are concerned about all the money the government is spending this way. Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. sent a letter to the head of the Government Accountability Office in May demanding an independent inquiry into the amount of money the government spends litigating FOIA cases. “Withholding information from the public unless sued undermines the very spirit of FOIA and wastes significant taxpayer money in the process,” they wrote.