On May 9, 1986, pursuant to the District of Columbia Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), a reporter for the Washington Post requested from appellants all documents relating to the expenses of the Mayor of the District of Columbia, Marion Barry,
The order further provided that the security documents were to be redacted by deleting the names and addresses of all security personnel and any other information by which such personnel might be identified. The trial court denied a motion for stay pending appeal. Appellants now seek a stay in this court, contending that the documents are protected by FOIA exemptions and that the court has equitable jurisdiction to expand the statutory exemptions of FOIA. We deny the stay.
To prevail on a motion for stay, a movant must show that he or she is likely
The District of Columbia FOIA, D.C.Code §§ 1-1521 through 1-1529 (1981), was modeled on the corresponding federal statute, 5 U.S.C. § 552 (1982), and many of its provisions closely parallel those of the federal act. Like the federal FOIA, the local FOIA embodies a strong policy favoring disclosure of information about governmental affairs and the acts of public officials, a policy which requires the courts to read narrowly any statutory exemptions from disclosure. Dunhill v. Director, District of Columbia Department of Transportation, 416 A.2d 244, 247 n. 5 (D.C. 1980). The act provides for full disclosure unless the information requested is exempted under a specific statutory provision; in the absence of a statutory exemption, a court has no general equitable power to prevent disclosure under FOIA of public documents and records. Washington Post Co. v. United States Department of State, 222 U.S.App.D.C. 248, 250, 685 F.2d 698, 700 (1982), cert. granted, 464 U.S. 812, 104 S.Ct. 65, 78 L.Ed.2d 80 vacated as moot, 464 U.S. 979, 104 S.Ct. 418, 78 L.Ed.2d 355 (1983); see Allen v. Central Intelligence Agency, 205 U.S.App.D.C. 159, 161 n. 11, 636 F.2d 1287, 1289 n. 11 (1980). Although the act does not limit the inherent power of a court to grant equitable relief, such as a stay, while adjudicating a FOIA case, see Renegotiation Board v. Bannercraft Clothing Co., 415 U.S. 1, 18-20, 94 S.Ct. 1028, 1037-38, 39 L.Ed.2d 123 (1974), that power does not include the authority to create additional exemptions from disclosure. The statutory exemptions are intended to be exclusive, D.C.Code § 1-1524(c) (1981), and equity cannot enlarge or extend them beyond the limits set by the act. Moreover, any doubts about the applicability of a particular exemption must be resolved in favor of disclosure. Hawkes v. Internal Revenue Service, 467 F.2d 787, 795-796 (6th Cir.1972).
Appellants claim that the security documents are covered by exemption 3 of FOIA, D.C.Code § 1-1524(a)(3) (1981), which under certain circumstances prevents disclosure of "investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes. . . ."
The security documents at issue here do not fall within this definition. They were not compiled in the course of any particular law enforcement investigation, but merely reflect day-to-day expenditures for security relating to the Mayor. The Post did not request, and the trial court did not grant access to, any documents other than financial records. Appellants do not assert that these records were compiled in the course of an investigation for any specific law enforcement purpose. We conclude that they are not exempt from disclosure under exemption 3.
To avoid disclosure of the documents relating to the discretionary and ceremonial funds, appellants invoke exemption 6 of the District of Columbia FOIA, D.C. Code § 1-1524(a)(6) (1981), which protects information "specifically exempted from disclosure" by a statute stating particular criteria for withholding or referring to particular types of matters to be withheld.
It follows from what we have said that appellants have failed to demonstrate that they are likely to prevail on the merits of this appeal. See Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. General Services Administration, 166 U.S.App.D.C. 194, 197, 509 F.2d 527, 530 (1974). We note also that appellants have made no showing of irreparable harm resulting from disclosure of either group of documents. To be sure, they assert that there would probably be an irreparable result — namely, publication in the Washington Post — but they have not identified any irreparable harm that would flow from publication. Nor have they demonstrated that the public interest favors the granting of a stay. In a case like this, such a showing would have to be particularly
For the foregoing reasons, appellants' motion for a stay pending appeal is