This week’s FOIA round-up: Millions spent protecting Confederate landmarks, conservation officials instructed to withhold records, and cops caught driving drunk allowed to Uber home
In this week’s FOIA round-up, public records show massive federal spending on protecting Confederate cemeteries post-Charlottesville, the Trump administration’s policy of withholding documents requested with FOIA at the Fish and Wildlife Service, and police fraternity allowing cops to escape DUI charges in Illinois. Also, an extensive FOIA-focused report details systemic flaws in the Illinois state FOIA process.
Last week, MuckRock asked for your help going extracting names and affiliations from Central Intelligence Agency’s list of official contacts and liaisons with other government agencies. Since then, MuckRock users have combed through half the list, producing names, affiliations and other leads. The response has been strong enough that we’re launching a new project for the effort.
When we last wrote about the Federal Bureau of Investigation file for former head of the American Civil Liberties Union Roger Baldwin, we looked at one of many instances in which Baldwin butted up against Director J. Edgar Hoover on the issue of balancing liberty and security. An earlier section of the file, however, reveals their relationship was relatively tame compared to that of Hoover’s predecessor, who once urged radio stations not to let the “ultra-radicals” at the ACLU broadcast the “rotten propaganda” that they weren’t on the Soviet payroll.
Most requesters that file in Massachusetts have noted difficulty in obtaining records from the state. The Bay State has often been ranked as one of the worst in terms public access to information, and that’s in no small part owing to the fact that three branches of government - the judiciary, the legislature, and the office of the governor - are exempt from the public records law.
There are over 3,000 Sheriffs’ departments in the United States, and nearly a tenth of them have provided contracts to MuckRock in response to our nationwide survey of inmate prison phone agreements.
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- 45% funded
- $4505.00 raised
- 112 backers
For-profit detention continues to reap the rewards of an incarceration system filled to the brim and facing an uncertain future. Our FOIA requests have released thousands of documents that show how for-profit prisons have leveraged the legal system to their advantage, letting companies pick-and-choose inmates to off-load costs, ignore complaints and concerns, and create dangerous conditions for prisoners and staff alike. This is all done while billions of taxpayer dollars are funneled into these private companies, which then pour millions into politicians' campaigns to keep their growth going. With your help, we can provide needed scrutiny of an industry few are even aware exists.
- 43% funded
- $2150.00 raised
- 19 backers