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A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that work-related emails from a private account used by the White House's top science adviser are subject to disclosure under federal open records laws.

The ruling from the three-judge panel is a win for government watchdog groups and media organizations concerned that public officials may be skirting public disclosure requirements by relying on private email.

The court sided with a conservative think tank that had filed a lawsuit seeking emails from John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The decision overturns a lower court judge that said Holdren's office did not have to comply with the Freedom of Information Act request from the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

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