For the Record: Foilies 2024, transparency-thwarting agencies and more

For the Record: Foilies 2024, transparency-thwarting agencies and more

Written by
Edited by Derek Kravitz

2023 is winding down, but the fight for transparency never stops.

There’s still time to nominate an agency for the Foilies, to shine light on those who are involved in all sorts of other transparency-thwarting.

Speaking of transparency-thwarting, our partners at the Cicero Independiente faced backlash from Cicero town president Larry Dominick and said that since the Independiente staffers routinely don’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, “from now on, I don’t think I’ll let anyone there talk that does not stand for the pledge.”

MuckRock’s For the Record will be back in 2024, so if you have a tip or submission to include in the new year? Email MuckRock’s engagement journalist, Kelly Kauffman, at

The Update

  • Locked out of local government: The Associated Press and CNHI News found it’s getting harder for the public to access information at the local government level in many states, including among school districts, townships and county boards. The Washington Post showcases a review by the Brechner Center’s David Cuillier of data provided by MuckRock that found that between 2010 and 2021, local governments’ compliance with records requests dropped from 63% to 42%.

  • Still time to submit your Foilies nominations: Organized by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and MuckRock, the Foilies showcase government agencies who curtail public access to information. Submit your nomination here.

  • Venture capitalist take down: Rajat Khare, co-founder of Appin, an India-based tech company, has used a variety of law firms in a number of different jurisdictions to threaten U.S., British, Swiss, Indian and French-language media organizations, reports Lachlan Cartwright at The Daily Beast.

FOIA Finds

  • Election interference apology letters: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has obtained copies of the apology letters, via an open records request, written by three of the four defendants who struck plea deals in the election interference case involving former President Donald Trump and others. Read the letters on DocumentCloud.

  • Data analysis on gun dealers in the U.S.: A Los Angeles Times analysis found that nearly every person in the U.S. lives within a 10-minute drive of a gun dealer. The Times filed numerous federal, state and local public records requests and published a list of federal firearms licensees published online by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

  • Investigation on prison censorship and book bans: David Eads of the Marshall Project dug into their project on book bans in prisons and how they used incomplete public records in their investigation.