a fishing expedition

a fishing expedition

  (mainly American)
an attempt to discover the facts about something by collecting a lot of information, often secretly The investigators' request for the company's accounts is simply a fishing expedition - they have no real evidence of wrongdoing.
See also: expedition, fishing
References in classic literature ?
Hell was very far off, and the delights of a fishing expedition with the Cottons were very near.
London, July 29 (ANI): Sarah Palin had an encounter with a brown bear while she was on a fishing expedition in Alaska.
The ex-prez finally consented - with an invite for Zahn and her crew to join him on a fishing expedition in Newfoundland, complete with helicopter transportation from fishing hole to fishing hole.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), specializing in constitutional law, said today that releasing documents pertaining to Supreme Court nominee John Roberts when he served in the Solicitor General's office would set a dangerous precedent and would violate the attorney-client privilege to satisfy those who are on a fishing expedition in the weeks leading up to the confirmation hearings.
Benchley said he became interested in the giant squid after going on a fishing expedition for the creatures in 1979.
com and enter a drawing to win a new 1999 Ford Expedition or a fishing expedition at one of a number of select Silverleaf resort locations.