There were 700 press releases posted in the last 24 hours and 172,894 in the last 365 days.

Freedom of Information Act Wasn't Created to Shine a Light on Private Parties

The following opinion piece appeared in USA Today on April 22, 2019. 
Revealing store-level SNAP sales data will not illuminate the government’s activities: Opposing view

By: Leslie G. Sarasin, President and CEO, Food Marketing Institute

The nation’s grocery stores have long kept confidential the amount consumers spend atFMI in the news individual stores with cash, credit and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

To business owners large and small, this store-level sales data is undoubtedly confidential because its release would provide an unfair advantage to competitors.

We have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to clarify the appropriate standard for exempting this data from public release — including whether the plain meaning of “confidential” should be applied or whether businesses must prove substantial competitive harm in every instance.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was created to shine a light on the government, not on private parties. Congress expressly exempted confidential commercial information from mandatory disclosure because that disclosure can harm private interests without adding much insight about the government’s own work.