FOIA the Trump Administration
While the Office of the White House is exempt from FOIA, its appointees are not, and you can help us FOIA them. This is a project to collaborate on filing requests regarding the Trump administration, with a particular focus on Donald J Trump’s top political appointees as well as information that can be gathered. The focus of these requests is not just the ongoing work of the administration, but also documents that highlight the background of various officials in the new administration, including the President Elect himself.
To join the project, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or join us on Slack by entering your information here.
Did the media misrepresent the size of the crowd at Donald Trump’s Inauguration? Watch the footage and decide for yourself
Amid the controversy over White House claims that the media had misrepresented the size of crowds at Donald Trump’s Inauguration, Nathan Lawrence filed a FOIA for surveillance footage from the nearby Smithsonian Institute. That footage arrived this week, and we’ll let you be the judge.
Government Accountability Office stalled after Senator Warren’s call for an investigation into Trump transition team
On November 23, 2016, Senator Warren wrote to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to request an investigation into Trump’s Presidential Transition Team, referencing reports of “disarray” and “chaos.” On this basis, and the Presidential Transition Act of 1963, the letter asked that an investigation be conducted and begun “as quickly as possible,” in part because the transition would only last until January 20th. The GAO, however, waited at least a month before beginning the review.
EPA Transition briefing materials, and materials prepared by other agencies, provide a valuable road map not just on how to run an agency, but also about what operations of that agency could be shut down entirely.
With millions of undocumented immigrants estimated to live in the U.S., the Trump administration’s moves towards stricter immigration and detention regulations are all signs pointing toward profit for an established network of private prison operators.
We’ve been getting lots of questions about what FOIA will look like under the Trump administration: How much impact does one president have? Will FOIA be useless? Transparency can be hard to predict, but here’s what MuckRock’s Michael Morisy thinks might be coming.
Local law enforcement usually pick up the slack when a high-profile person comes to visit. But if that person is the President, living on one of the most famous streets in one of the busiest sections of America’s most crowded city - well, the tab ends up being best suited for a billionaire.
Since June 2015, MuckRock users have been filing FOIA requests regarding a possible Trump presidency. In fact, so far there’s been over 160 public Trump-related requests filed through the site, all of which you can browse through freely. Now, we want your help filing even more.
President-elect Donald Trump’s calls for a database and “extreme vetting” of Muslims has understandably alarmed civil rights and Muslim organizations - but left unsaid in much of the discussion of Trump’s proposed policies toward Muslims, however, is any recognition of just how much these policies will depend on programs already established by the Obama administration.
After the Office of Government Ethics responded to Donald Trump’s announcement that he would divest from his businesses to avoid conflicts of interest as president with a series of bizarre, seemingly sarcastic tweets, the Office was inundated with reporters asking if the account had been hacked. A FOIA by CJ Ciaramella for communications surrounding the incident confirms two things – 1) the tweets were intentional, and 2) the OGE isn’t 100% sure how this Twitter thing works.
Citing his desire to have people who “made a fortune,” Trump has selected a number of super-rich individuals with little to no government experience for his cabinet. In this case, the result is a set of picks whose combined wealth is higher than one third of American households combined. And at least one, Steven Mnuchin, nominated to be Secretary of the Treasury, appears to be tied to a federal investigation.
Just three months ago, private prisons were feeling the sting of a Justice Department report that became ammunition for a phase-out. But the renewed feeling of a Reagan-era, privatization redux is good news for a sector now poised for a new uncertain reign of law and order.
Last week, Robert Bigelow, founder of Bigelow Aerospace encouraged broader spending in orbit. He suggested doubling NASA’s budget, which would bring the agency’s cut to a full one percent of federal spending. Docs released as part of the company’s BEAM project help show the regulatory concerns that leave space tourism an international grey zone.
Now that Donald Trump is President Elect of the United States, a whole new world of FOIA possibilities begins to open up. Here’s your guide on what you can request from the upcoming administration.
Ah, what a difference a year makes. Last September, following a particularly heated Republican primary debate, Fox News commentator Rich Lowry described then-nominee Donald Trump as having been, shall we say, gelded by another candidate. Trump was not happy, and called on the FCC to fine Lowry. As complaints received by the agency show, Trump supporters heeded that call.
Just because you don’t work in government doesn’t mean FOIA doesn’t work on you. How public records are helping illuminate the Trump candidacy.
Ben Hudson sent this request to the Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General of the United States of America
Michael Best sent this request to the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency of the United States of America
Michael Morisy sent this request to the Department of State, Division of Licensing Services - New York of New York
Michael Best sent this request to the Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General of the United States of America
Curtis Waltman sent this request to the Environmental Protection Agency, Office of the Inspector General of the United States of America
Curtis Waltman sent this request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Office of Inspector General of the United States of America
Michael Best sent this request to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Department of the Treasury of the United States of America
Michael Morisy sent this request to the Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense of the United States of America
CJ Ciaramella sent this request to the Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General of the United States of America