This week’s round-up: FEMA gets ICE'd, a splurging superintendent in Texas, and a chance to nominate your free speech hero

This week’s round-up: FEMA gets ICE’d, a splurging superintendent in Texas, and a chance to nominate your free speech hero

Plus, former EPA head finds more money does, in fact, mean more problems

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Edited by JPat Brown

For this week’s FOIA round-up, we’re taking a look at cuts to Federal Emergency Management Agency for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement programming, a Texas school superintendent’s lavish spending habits, and former Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt’s money problems. Plus, open nominations for the FAC Free Speech and Open Government Award.

See a great use of public records we missed? Send over your favorite FOIA stories via email, on Twitter, or on Facebook, and maybe we’ll include them in the next round-up. And if you’d like even more inspiration, read past round-ups.

FEMA gets Hit

Documents released to USA Today this week show a $10 million transfer from FEMA’s budget to help fund ICE - about .9 percent of FEMA’s listed overall budget.

According to the document, additional funds were taken from the Transportation Security Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard to help ICE detain immigrants at the border, fund beds in detention centers, and remove undocumented immigrants from the country.

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), first shared the documents on live television and expressed his concerns for this year’s emergency preparedness for the 2018 hurricane season.

Read the budget documents embedded below:

Pruitt’s financial struggles

Records released this week to the Chicago Tribune show former EPA head Pruitt racked up between $115,000 and $300,00 in legal fees last year.

Additionally, previously released FOIA documents show Pruitt met more than half-a-dozen times with billionaire coal executive Joseph Craft III during his time as EPA Chief. The Chicago Tribune reports that Craft and his wife gave more than $2 million to Trump’s campaign and inauguration.

Splurging Leaders

This week, the Dallas CBS 11 News I-Team filed a public records request to the A.W Brown Leadership Academies and found high spending charges on the Superintendent’s school issued credit card. Four days after the I-Team reported their findings, Laura Mimms, the school’s Superintendent resigned.

The I-Team found that Mimms charged expensive trips to her school credit card, including stays at high-end hotels and dining at expensive restaurants. Mimms’ March statement alone showed a charge of more than $3,000 for Southwest Airlines, over $2,500 at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco, and $3,500 at a seafood kitchen in Dallas. The school has not provided an explanation for the charges.

Nominate a first amendment hero

Do you know someone who goes above and beyond to fight for the First Amendment and open government? Nominations are now open for the First Amendment FAC Free Speech and Government Award!

Deadline for nominations is October 31st, 2018. For more information and submissions, click here!

Read a great FOIA-based news story we should highlight? Let us know and maybe we can include it in our next roundup! Send it over via email, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

Image via DHS Flickr