Light-hearted looks into the federal government

Light-hearted looks into the federal government

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Thanks to some creative request ideas, FOIA helps puts the “fun” in “functioning democracy.”

  • A list of research projects released to the Federation of American Scientists revealed a multi-million dollar program fringe space theories including stargates, invisibility cloaks, and warp drives funded by the Department of Defense.

Example Request: DARPA FOIA Logs

  • After noticing what appeared to be trading cards for K-9 units at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at a veterinarian’s office in Virginia, reporter Joshua Eaton obtained a full set through FOIA.

Example Request: K-9 Trading cards

  • Photos released to ThinkProgress showed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin enjoying his trip to Fort Knox, including several shots of him and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell holding gold bars.

Example Request: Mnuchin Travel records

  • Development materials released to Emma Best show the considerations that went into the costume for the Department of Energy’s official mascot for renewable energy, the “Green Reaper.”

Example Request: Mascot development materials

  • Federal Communication Commission complaints released to MuckRock show the public outrage from Michelle Wolf’s now-infamous White House Correspondents Dinner remarks.

Example Requests: FCC Complaints

But for all the challenges agencies put up to access records, persistence and creativity often lead to important releases that shed new light on government, our communities, and our country. Visit 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.

Heavy-hitting national reporting

State-level stories that made an impact

Local reporting on the lighter side

Check out our new site for FOIA Inspiration

Image via U.S. National Archives Flickr