On November 15, 2022, the ACCG filed another Freedom of Information Act administrative appeal, this time for Customs and Border Protection’s refusal to produce any documents regarding three coin seizure incidents. Based on CBP’s earlier production to us of seized asset spreadsheets, our FOIA request centered on 24 coin seizure incidents, which was later reduced to nine incidents to avoid duplication. After CBP referred our FOIA request for six of the incidents to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement for their response to us, the CBP then declined to produce any documents regarding their own three coin seizure incidents by asserting various FOIA Exemptions.
Our FOIA administrative appeal argues that the CBP's denial violates their own regulations and that the FOIA Exemption withholdings was erroneous. We also argue that the CBP failed to abide by FOIA’s requirement to provide “reasonably segregable” documents, since they could have produced the documents with limited redactions. We are concerned that the CBP’s FOIA blanket denial basically allows the CBP to seize property secretly, without an administrative or judicial forfeiture, while denying the public’s ability to know of the agency’s actions. It would defeat the very purpose of FOIA, which the Supreme Court states is intended to give citizens the means to know “what their Government is up to," which is “a structural necessity in a real democracy." Besides our FOIA administrative appeal, the ACCG has also filed a request to the Office of Government Information Services, which offers dispute resolution services between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies.