This enmity toward FOIA springs from deep roots in their extended official family. Just read your own National Security Archive briefing book #142. . . . It is a compelling story of how in 1974 President Gerald Ford's chief of staff - one Donald Rumsfeld - and his deputy chief of staff - one Dick Cheney - talked the President out of signing amendments that would have put stronger teeth in the Freedom of Information Act. As members of the House of Representatives, Congressman Rumsfeld actually co-sponsored the Act and as a Congressman, Ford voted for it. But then Richard Nixon was sent scuttling from the White House in disgrace after the secrets of Watergate came spilling out. Rumsfeld and Cheney wanted no more embarrassing revelations of their party's abuse of power; and they were assisted in their arguments by yet another rising Republican star, Antonin Scalia, then a top lawyer at the Justice Department. Fast forward to 2001, when in the early months of George W. Bush's Administration, Vice President Cheney invited the tycoons of oil, gas, and coal to the White House to divide up the spoils of victory. They had, after all, contributed millions of dollars to the cause, and as Cheney would later say of tax cuts for the fraternity of elites who had financed the campaign, they deserved their payoff. But to keep the plunder from disgusting the public, the identities of the participants in the meetings were kept secret. The liberal Sierra Club and the conservative Judicial Watch filed suit to open this insider trading to public scrutiny.
But after losing in the lower court, the White House asked the Supreme Court to intervene. Lo and behold, hardly had Justice Scalia returned from a duck hunting trip with the Vice President - the blind leading the blind to the blind - than the Supreme Court upheld the White House privilege to keep secret the names of those corporate predators who came to slice the pie. You have to wonder if sitting there in the marsh, shotguns in hand, Scalia and Cheney reminisced about their collaboration many years earlier when as young men in government they had tried to shoot down the dreaded Freedom of Information Act that kept them looking over their shoulders (Congress, by the way, overrode President Ford's veto.)