Whether you’re digging into state house harassment or what public employees get paid to quit their job, there’s some great examples to learn from reading the reporting out there. Here’s some of our favorites from this past week.
Every year, literally hundreds of billions of tax dollars are spent on contracting agreements with private businesses. And all of them are subject - to some extent - to public records laws and inspections.
Earlier this year, Emma Best filed a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of the Department of Defense’s most recent declassification guide, with the goal of better understanding what the Pentagon believes can or can’t be released to the public. Just this week, the guide came in but with one notable omission: the entire section on what the Pentagon believes can or can’t be released to the public
This week, in absurd and illegal requests, Maine’s Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority said that MuckRock is required to pay $750 because we opened the email they sent with their 37-page bid for Amazon second headquarters.
The United States of America is the primary destination for more members of the global migrant population than any other country. To handle the constant influx of foreign individuals - both legally-authorized and otherwise - across the borders, the federal government relies on a handful of agencies to funnel foreign visitors and residents in and out of the country. The Freedom of Information Act and equivalent state laws can help to shed some light into how the immigration system on all levels is working - or not.
The best records requests are specific, so if you want to know how the Trump administration’s aggressive immigration enforcement tactics are impacting your area, why not ask your local institutions?
FOIAing the Trump administration: tracking travel, investigations, and whether Trump’s cabinet thinks he’s a ‘moron.’
Starting today, every Tuesday we’ll be putting together a weekly roundup of how FOIA is contributing to oversight of the Trump administration.
GAO not releasing details on collection agency with financial ties to Betsy DeVos’ contested bid with the Department of Education
If a company is going to be reimbursed for fees associated with filing bid protests against an agency headed up by a person with whom they’ve done business in the past, both the process by which the protests came to be sustained and any reimbursements paid to the company ought to be a matter of public record. In the case of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Performant Financial Corporation, that isn’t the case.
Back in March, Emma Best requested copies of “written requests for investigations or reports relating to Donald J. Trump or his campaign” from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Just this week, the ODNI responded, saying that after a “comprehensive search,” it couldn’t find any. Which is strange, because as a simple Google search found responsive records.
Records released last week show D.C. Metropolitan Police Department employed a Long Range Acoustic Device during the Women’s March to “direct the crowd flow.” This is the latest evidence of an worrying trend in which police departments are increasingly using the incredibly powerful LRAD to deal with non-violent protests at the risk of causing permanent hearing loss.
In a democracy, the power of the people comes from the ability to hold their government accountable. We’re launching a project to provide a comprehensive list of FOIA resources that will help you to prepare, participate, and investigate protests. Today, we’ll be examining three pivotal protests of the past decade in America – Occupy Wall Street, Ferguson and NoDAPL.
In a democracy, the power of the people comes from the ability to hold their government accountable. We’re launching a project to provide a comprehensive list of FOIA resources that will help you to prepare, participate, and investigate protests. Today, we’ll be looking at what to look out for during a protest.
In a democracy, the power of the people comes from the ability to hold their government accountable. We’re launching a project to provide a comprehensive list of FOIA resources that will help you to prepare, participate, and investigate protests. Today, we’ll be looking at what to know before the protest starts.
When DNA evidence can be destroyed at will by hospital officials, the lack of a statute of limitations can mean almost nothing. Giving survivors only 30 days to decide whether to press charges is an unfairly small window of time to process the traumatic event.
Recently released documents show that the backlog of untested rape kits in Alaska’s capitol city, Juneau, is staggering. Out of the 283 sexual assault evidence kits collected since 2000, 206 still remain untested, while the status of three remains “unknown” - disturbing news for a state with a rate of sexual violence nearly three times the national average.
Our request with Monroe, New York showed that, despite a new state law requiring all rape kits be tested within ten days, the police department currently has three kits that haven’t been sent to a lab for processing.
State University of New York didn’t comply with a law that required an audit of their sexual assault procedures
Last May, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the “Enough Is Enough” law, which requires schools in the state to complete a review of compliance with standardized sexual assault policies, with a preliminary report ordered to be ready by September 1st of this year. In light of this, we filed a request with the State University of New York (SUNY), a system of public colleges comprised of 64 campuses, asking for the results of Cuomo’s audit at all SUNY campuses. SUNY responded that they had no results to show - an audit was never conducted.