Pursuing truth and transparency for public health

FOIA

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Defending Our Right to Know

U.S. Right to Know is a nonprofit investigative research group focused on promoting transparency for public health. We are working globally to expose corporate wrongdoing and government failures that threaten the integrity of our health, our environment and our food system. In our research, we gather court documents, study regulatory filings and make Freedom of Information requests to state, federal and international agencies, including regulatory bodies and universities. The documents we have obtained from public institutions have generated worldwide media coverage and exposed numerous secret industry strategies, payments and collaborations that undermine scientific, academic, political and regulatory institutions. Many of our documents are now posted in the UCSF Chemical and Food Industry libraries.

Litigating for Our Right to Know

When public agencies fail to comply with open records laws, we seek legal remedies to compel release of documents and data.

U.S. Right to Know has filed 11 lawsuits against federal and state agencies for violating Freedom of Information laws, as part of our efforts to uncover what is known about the origins of novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, leaks or mishaps at biosafety labs, and the risks of gain-of-function research. For information about these lawsuits, see our biohazards litigation page.

We have also filed numerous lawsuits seeking documents pertaining to our other public health investigations. These are listed here:

Protecting Open Government Laws

The rights of citizens, researchers and journalists to access public records through state and federal freedom of information laws are in jeopardy. Most recently, the California Assembly took up a bill that would have limited the public’s right to obtain records held by academic institutions. USRTK worked with open government groups and journalistic organizations to successfully oppose the legislation. See our posts, Don’t weaken the California Public Records Act (May 2019); State public record laws help uncover wrongdoing at public universities (April 2019). Read more about our FOI work here:

USRTK v. University of Maryland

U.S. Right to Know is suing the University of Maryland to challenge the exorbitant fee of nearly $100,000 to receive records relating to our investigation into communications between bee expert Dennis vanEnglesdorp and the pesticide industry and its allies. EarthJustice is representing us.

USRTK v. United States Department of State

U.S. Right to Know is suing the U.S. State Department for failing to release communications with its employees in Europe regarding glyphosate. Public Citizen Litigation Group is representing us.

USRTK v. University of Vermont and State Agricultural College

U.S. Right to Know sued the University of Vermont for refusing to release public documents related to a member of its faculty who has longstanding ties to the International Life Sciences Institute, a group funded by the food and agrichemical industries.

CrossFit & USRTK v. Department of Health and Human Services

CrossFit and U.S. Right to Know are suing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) seeking records about why the Foundation for the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC Foundation) and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (NIH Foundation) have not disclosed donor information as required by law.

USRTK v. EPA (glyphosate residue testing)

Public Citizen Litigation Group on behalf of U.S. Right to Know is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the release of documents related to the EPA’s interactions with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding testing food samples for residues of glyphosate.

USRTK v. Department of Health and Human Services

US Right to Know sued the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over its failure to release correspondence between agency officials and current and former employees of Coca-Cola.

USRTK v. University of Florida Board of Trustees

U.S. Right to Know is seeking to obtain key documents about the agrichemical industry and its ties with the University of Florida.

USRTK v. EPA (review of glyphosate)

Public Citizen Litigation Group on behalf of U.S. Right to Know is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the release of documents related to EPA’s assessment of glyphosate.

Gary Ruskin v. The Regents of the University of California

U.S. Right to Know is suing UC Davis for failing to release public records about GMOs and pesticides.

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