Suit Follows FEMA’s Refusal to Publicly Release After-Action Assessment of Trump Administration Response to Hurricane Disaster in Puerto Rico
Washington, DC — Democracy Forward has filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration for refusing to release reports assessing the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (“FEMA”) emergency response to Hurricane Maria’s deadly destruction in Puerto Rico.

The Administration has failed to release publicly these “after-action reports,” which are intended to provide a transparent and objective analysis of the federal government’s response and recovery efforts in the wake of natural disasters.  In past instances, including following Hurricane Sandy, FEMA has used contractors to assist with the preparation of such reports, which are then released publicly as an official accounting of FEMA’s efforts.

In October 2017, Administration officials acknowledged an after-action report for Hurricane Maria was in development, but have since avoided questions on its release.

“As this year’s hurricane season begins, the Trump Administration continues to bury the facts about Hurricane Maria,” said Democracy Forward Executive Director Anne Harkavy.  “First, the Administration refused to address the devastating report by public health experts that Hurricane Maria led to the deaths of thousands of Americans, and now the Trump Administration is refusing to tell its own citizens what mistakes it made and how it can do better.”

On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, where it knocked out the island’s power grid and led to thousands of estimated deaths. Democracy Forward’s request seeks the undisclosed after-action report (or reports) and communications about it.


Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.

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