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Court sides with newspaper on food stamp data

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — A panel of federal appeals court judges says the Argus Leader newspaper can pursue data on how much retailers in the state receive from taxpayers through the food stamp program.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday reversed a September decision by U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier that favored the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Schreier had ruled that such data was exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests.

The appeals panel ruled that the information is not exempt from disclosure because the department, not any retailer, generates the information. The judges said that the underlying data is obtained from third-party payment processors, not from individual retailers.

The case has been remanded back to the district level.

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