Why the courts should allow handing off requests

And why we’re joining Douglas Cox, First Look Media, and National Security Counselors to push for it to happen

Written by Michael Morisy
Edited by JPat Brown

Government regulations promise swift response to FOIAs—generally 20 working days. But in practice, that goal is rarely met, with some requests taking years to complete, often after the original journalist who filed the request has moved on.

Allowing reporters and news organizations to pass along requests is a necessary means of ensuring that agencies can’t simply wait out reporters and news organizations who would hold them publicly accountable.

For this reason, MuckRock joins Douglas Cox, First Look Media, and National Security Counselors in an Amici Curiae to overturn a court ruling that found these kinds of assignments did not give standing to the request assignee.

Giving agencies the ability to simply stonewall a request until a reporter leaves a news organization severely restricts one of the best tools we have hold accountable those who serve the public.  

By letting these news organizations and reporters to assign requests to each other, it ensures that–even as agencies serially and egregiously fail to live up to their own FOIA regulations–they are at least accountable to the law for those that are patient and willing to fight the long fight.

Read more about the case in question, read our full petition below, or download it here:

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