Quest for food stamp data lands newspaper at Supreme Court

Argus Leader in South Dakota began quest in 2010

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WASHINGTON - In the summer of 2010, reporters at South Dakota's Argus Leader newspaper came up with the idea of requesting data about the government's food assistance program.

They thought the information about the $65-billion dollar-a year program, previously known as food stamps, could lead to a series of stories and help them identify possible fraud.

Officials eventually sent back some information about the hundreds of thousands of stores nationwide where program participants could use their benefits. But the government withheld information about how much each store received annually from the program.

Trying to get that data has taken the paper more than eight years.

On Monday, the Supreme Court will take up the case that pits the paper against the government and a supermarket trade association.

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