This week’s FOIA round-up: Trump official pressed NASA to deny climate science, documents show Mexican concessions predated tariff threats, and Chicago Police sergeant under investigation had record

This week’s FOIA round-up: Trump official pressed NASA to deny climate science, documents show Mexican concessions predated tariff threats, and Chicago Police sergeant under investigation had record

Plus, Oregon unanimously passes law stregthening penalties for ignoring or delaying public records requests

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Edited by JPat Brown

In this week’s FOIA round-up, an email exchange between two White House officials and National Aeronautics and Space Administration head Jim Ridenstine show the administration asked NASA to “systematically sidestep” the “nonsense” of man-made climate change, documents reveal that Mexico had already planned immigration concessions months before tariff threat, and records show Chicago Police sergeant under investgation for alleged sexual assault had previously been reccomended for firing are investigating a transgender woman’s sexual assault claim against one of their own sergents.

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 will include them in the next roundup. And if you’d like even more inspiration, read past roundups.

Trump official asked NASA head to “sidestep” climate science

In a 2018 email exchange with NASA administrator Jim Ridenstine, current National Security Council member William Happer and conservative think tank analyst Thomas Wyslummer asked NASA to ignore the scientific link between fossil fuel emissions and climate change. Wyslummer, who at the time of the exchange was advising President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency, works for the Heartland Institute, which denies the human contribution to climate change.

The emails, obtained by the Environmental Defense Fund under FOIA and provided to the Associated Press, do not show whether it was Happer or Wyslummer who was pressuring the NASA chief, but they do reveal that Happer continued contact with NASA officials long after he joined Trump’s National Security Council.

Read the Associated Press’s full story here.

Mexico agreed to migration concessions before Trump threatened punitive tariffs

Though Trump claims increased Mexican immigration enforcement is a result of his negotiating and threats of tariffs, documents obtained by The Intercept reveal Mexico had planned to increase Central American refugee processing since at least October 2018.

Last week, Trump announced that his administration had reached a border security deal with Mexico, indicating the new agreement was a result of his threats to impose sanctions against Mexico. But the documents released by the Intercept show that Mexico’s had quietly begun allowing third-country refugee resettlement before Trump had begun “negotiating.”

Read the Intercept’s full story here.

Chicago Police sergeant investigated of sexual assault had previously been recommended for firing

A transgender woman has accused a Chicago Police sergeant of sexually assaulting her while he was on duty in March. According to documents obtained by the Chicago Tribune through a public-records request, the accused officer has been previously recommended for firing over 20 years ago after Chicago Police’s Internal Affairs Division found he and his partner has threatened to frame a convicted felon for new charges unless he handed over an illegal gun.

Read the Chicago Tribune’s full story here.

Oregon unanimously strengthens penalties for violating public records laws

Oregon’s legislature unanimously voted to strengthen state public records laws by increasing the penalty for failing to respond to public records requests in the allotted time. School districts, local governments and state agencies can be charged $200 penalty if they ignore or delay a public records request. State Rep. Karin Power (D-Milwaukie) the bill in collaboration with the Society of Professional Journalists.

Read the full bill 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 NASA Flickr