Center for American Progress

American Progress Files Amicus Curiae Brief Seeking Disclosure of Records of Cheney Energy Policy Group

American Progress Files Amicus Curiae Brief Seeking Disclosure of Records of Cheney Energy Policy Group

Download the amicus curiae brief in PDF.

On November 29, 2004, the Center for American Progress joined with leading library associations, the nation's largest archival association, and several other public interest organizations in a friend of the court brief seeking disclosure of who, outside the government, participated in the National Energy Policy Development Group (the "NEPDG") convened by Vice President Cheney to formulate a national energy policy in 2001. The case, now before the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was brought by the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch after the vice president refused to disclose any information about the composition of the NEPDG. The case will be argued on January 27, 2005.

The case raises important questions about the public's right to know. Twenty-five years ago, Congress enacted the Federal Advisory Committee Act ("FACA") to open the proceedings of federal advisory bodies to public scrutiny. Without such scrutiny, the public cannot know whether special interest groups are being given privileged access when government decisions are formulated behind closed doors. Nevertheless, the vice president has claimed that FACA does not apply to the proceedings of the NEPDG and has refused to disclose the names of those who had participated in its meetings.

The American Progress brief proposes a pragmatic solution to the impasse that would enable the court to provide meaningful access to the public while accommodating any legitimate interests the Executive Branch may have in protecting confidential information. Adopting a model known as the "Vaughn Index," which the courts commonly use in Freedom of Information Act cases, the brief recommends the creation of a "Cheney Log" that would identify the individuals who attended each meeting of the energy policy group.

Joining the Center in filing the brief are the American Association of Law Libraries, the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, the National Security Archive, the Society of American Archivists, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Liberty Project, OMB Watch, and the Society of Professional Journalists.

  • Download the amicus curiae brief in PDF.
  • Download the Center's previous amicus curiae brief in the case in PDF.
  • Download the Supreme Court decision remanding the case to the lower court in PDF.

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