Montgomery v. IRS, No. 17-918, 2019 WL 162028 (D.D.C. Jan. 10, 2019) (Boasberg, J.)
Re: Requests for records concerning whistleblower activity related to plaintiffs
Disposition: Denying plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration
Litigation Considerations: First, the court finds that, "[t]o the extent the Court may have improperly characterized [plaintiffs'] personal income-tax history from the morass of factual disputes that marked the parties' prior litigation, this had no effect on its decision upholding the IRS's response to several of their FOIA requests." Second, the court rejects "[p]laintiffs' argument that the Opinion improperly relied on in camera declarations." The court explains that "none of the in camera submissions could be released without compromising information protected by Exemption 7(D)." Third, regarding the actual application of an Exemption 7(D) Glomar, the court finds that "the agency's response was legally satisfactory." The court finds that "[plaintiffs] have not met their burden of showing that 'the specific information' subject to their requests and protected by Exemption 7(D) is 'in the public domain by official disclosure.'" The court also finds that, "[c]ontrary to Plaintiffs' assertion, the IRS . . . fully complied with [the] requirement that 'an agency "publicly explain[ ] to the extent it can why it has concluded that certain sources provided information under an express or implied assurance of confidentiality."'" Finally, the court rejects plaintiffs' argument "that Exemption 7(D) only protects the identities of confidential sources and thus cannot be invoked to shield from disclosure the existence of a confidential source" and "finds that "there are some circumstances in which the divulging of the existence of a confidential source will also reveal that source's identity." "Those circumstances, as the IRS explains, obtain here."