FOIA Roundup: Highlights from MuckRock's week, federal FOIA lawsuits, a bad situation for Illinois children

FOIA Roundup: Highlights from MuckRock’s week, federal FOIA lawsuits, a bad situation for Illinois children

MuckRock’s weekly roundup from the Freedom of Information news

Written by
Edited by Michael Morisy

In this week’s roundup, we highlight the latest from MuckRock, federal FOIA lawsuits, and the plight of Illinois’s child wards.

For previous roundups, go here. Have news, a FOIA job opening, or something else we should have on our radar? Let us know!

Requester’s Voice: Kris Newby, author of Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons

Kris Newby is a science writer, a MuckRock user, and the author of Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons, which was deemed the winner in the Narrative Nonfiction category at the 2020 International Book Awards. Newby recently shared her personal journey that took her from the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard into the depths of the U.S. government’s Cold War biological weapons program, what she found there, the FOIAs she filed along the way, and what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had to say about her. Read more on MuckRock.

Win FOIA prizes and demand Treasury transparency in our latest collaboration with the Center for Public Integrity!

How did massive amounts of government money end up in the pockets of corporations and rich Americans during Trump’s presidency? We go inside the system to find out in ‘The Heist,’ a new Center for Public Integrity podcast.

Enter the contest and subscribe to the podcast, and your name will be added on as a co-signatory to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, submitted by the Center for Public Integrity through MuckRock, seeking further details about how trillions of dollars of tax breaks for America’s richest corporations and individuals came to pass, as well as the fallout when America was hit by the pandemic. Read more about it here.

Celebrate the anniversary of Writers Under Surveillance.

It’s been two years since MuckRock released its first book, Writers Under Surveillance, a collection of FBI files on some of the most famous authors in the United States. Check out all of our FBI files on our Subjects Matter project page and check out our store to get your own copy.

New federal Freedom of Information Act lawsuits

National Public Radio has filed a federal lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for failing to conduct another review of disclosable Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties investigative reports related to immigration detention centers, even after an appeal already remanded heavily-redacted materials back to the agency for review. See more of the latest FOIA cases filed recently on The FOIA Project.

Iowa State Patrol releases materials on new-this-year drone program

If you’re interested in filing your own request for materials on the local unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program, check out the request we sent to Iowa State Patrol. Iowa State Patrol has recorded 245 drone flights in the last seven months, including 54 at the scenes of fatal collisions and 15 following crimes, according to its response last week to our Iowa Open Records Law request. Read more from Beryl Lipton on MuckRock.

In Illinois, so many children without families to return to are trapped in institutions

According to data released to ProPublica Illinois by the Department of Children and Family Services, hundreds of children cleared from release from psychiatric hospitals are without homes and have been left institutionalized. Read more from Duaa Eldeib in ProPublica Illinois.

COVID-19 got your request stuck in limbo?

Let us know if you’re getting reasons related to COVID-19 for why you won’t be seeing your records within the legally-required timeframe?

Have FOIA news, challenges, or successes that should be on our radar? Let us know!

Image via Kim Coffman at MuckRock