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Forest Service Demands $80,000 to Turn Over Public Records to Non-profit Group

November 18, 2014

Phoenix, AZ — Transparency in the Obama Administration has a price. The U.S. Forest Service wants $78,935.80 before it will share public records the Goldwater Institute has requested under the Freedom of Information Act. Not only is the U.S. Forest Service blocking emergency repairs to the City of Tombstone’s Huachuca Mountain water supply, it is now hiding the documents that might explain its outrageous conduct. 

In a showdown with the “town too tough to die,” the U.S. Forest Service blocked Tombstone from repairing its mountain spring aqueduct after it was destroyed in the 2011 Monument Fire. The Forest Service is threatening the lives and properties of Tombstone residents and tourists due to the loss of adequate fire suppression capabilities and safe drinking water.

Now the U.S. Forest Service is punishing the Goldwater Institute for daring to file a public interest lawsuit against the federal government to restore that water supply. In demanding nearly $80,000 before turning over public records, the Forest Service has deemed the Institute’s lawsuit as proof of a “commercial interest” that disqualifies the non-profit Institute from securing a fee waiver under the Freedom of Information Act.

“We just want to know why,” said Nick Dranias, the Goldwater Institute’s constitutional policy director. “If there is a reason for the Forest Service to threaten the lives and properties of Tombstone residents, the federal government should tell us what it is.”

Perhaps the Forest Service is willing to risk public health and safety because the spotted owl historically nests in the Huachuca Mountains. But the Monument Fire and subsequent floods appear to have destroyed that ecosystem.

The Obama Administration is acting like it has something to hide. That’s why the Goldwater Institute will appeal the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to demand cash before complying with the Freedom of Information Act. 

The Goldwater Institute protects America’s greatest inheritance – the liberty and economic freedom of the individual – by holding government accountable and standing up for regular taxpayers just like you. Learn more about the Goldwater Institute at Learn more about Tombstone v. United States at

For more information, please contact Communications Director Michael Kelley at (602) 633.8985 or at



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