MuckRock’s amazing community of FOIA and public records enthusiasts have crossed another milestone: A user recently filed the site’s 50,000th requests, the 9,486th request this year.
This week’s round-up: Trump offers tours to golfing buddies, lawsuit reveals tax assessor taking shortcuts, a weird public records story in California gets even weirder
For this week’s FOIA round-up, public records help confirm a story about President Donald Trump bringing members of his golf club on Air Force One, a lawsuit shows tax assessor pulling property values from Zillow, and a California city takes a stand against one reporter’s dogged crusade to keep city records secret.
While the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s track record with FOIA has never been good, it’s hard not to argue that it has recently gotten exponentially worse. In just the last few years, the Bureau has thrown out thousands of FOIA requests because there were too “burdensome,” investigated FOIA requesters, redacted the names of fictional characters and engaged in questionable fees practices. However, just last month, the FBI hit a new low and declared that - contrary to all statute and case law - the dead have an expectation of privacy.
Though contracts are usually subject to disclosure, prison phone company ICSolutions added a provision in Wyoming that is preventing the release of its financial agreement in a state with no administrative appeal option.
An Illinois Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Chicago-based Lucy Parsons Labs has led to the release of a “Best Practices and Training Guide” for the PredPol predictive policing software. The manual offers a rare look at how private companies are encouraging police to embrace algorithms as a means of seeking out crime before it happens.
Projects See all
- 44% funded
- $4470.00 raised
- 110 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
- 44% funded
- $1555.00 raised
- 22 backers
Despite an estimated 175,000 sexual assault evidence collection kits that sit untested in evidence rooms and crime labs across the country, there is no federal law in place mandating policies or testing of kits, and we don't know how many more go uncounted. This project aims to end that, one city and one kit at a time.