The National Energy Policy Development Group (NEPDG) was established within the Executive Office of the President to develop a national energy policy. Vice President Cheney (defendant) was named chairman, and cabinet secretaries and other officials were assigned to serve with him. Cheney was given the authority to set up NEPDG subcommittees, but he did not exercise this authority. Non-federal employees attended meetings of, and participated in subgroups of NEPDG. Judicial Watch and the Sierra Club (plaintiffs) sought NEPDG documents on the ground that the group was an advisory committee, subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). They filed multiple suits seeking the production of these materials, one of which was a mandamus action against Cheney to comply with FACA. The case came before the federal court of appeals.