At the federal level, FOIA reporting tells the stories that matter.
- A memo released to the public accountability groups Open the Government and the Project on Government Oversight revealed that Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen had indeed signed off on a policy of separating immigrant children from their families at the border, despite the administration’s claims to the contrary.
Example Requests: Agency memos/communications
- Contracts released to the Associated Press revealed the Department of Veterans Affairs has spent almost $3 million on private security for Confederate cemeteries following the deadly protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Example Requests: Contracts/MOUs
- Schedules of several Department of the Interior executives released to reporter Jimmy Tobias reveal the agency’s repeatedly opting to meet with industry groups, lawyers and activists who oppose environmental protections over conservationists.
Example Requests: Official calendars/schedules
- In response to a MuckRock request for the reporting and analysis the Department of the Treasury used to claim that Trump tax cut will generate $1.8 trillion in revenue, the agency produced a one-page memo that had been referenced in the request.
Example Request: Tax bill analysis
- Enforcement records released to the medical journal JAMA revealed that the Food and Drug Administration turned a blind eye to almost a decade of inappropriate prescription and distribution practices for the opioid fentanyl.
Example Requests: ARCOS database
But public records aren’t just for investigative journalists. Anyone can take advantage of these powerful tools for transparency. Visit https://muck.rocks to see a random idea from our new database of public records requests that have worked — and sample text you can use to file similar requests in your community.
Image via U.S. National Archives Flickr