FOIA the Trump Administration

FOIA requests regarding the Trump administration and transition.

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 and the information available to 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 himself.

To join the project, send an email to michael@muckrock.com, or join us on Slack by entering your information here.

36 Articles

The Air Force is "as serious as a heart attack" about opposing the Space Corps

The Air Force is “as serious as a heart attack” about opposing the Space Corps

While President Donald Trump’s announcement earlier this year regarding the possible establishment of a “Space Force,” FOIA shows that not everyone in his own administration is so keen on the idea. In a series of recently released emails from last year, Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson made clear her opposition to the establishment of a semi-autonomous “Space Corps,” insisting that it be the USAF in charge of militarizing the cosmos.

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Yes, the IRS got your email about Trump's tax returns

Yes, the IRS got your email about Trump’s tax returns

A recent FOIA release from the Internal Revenue Service show that leading up into the inauguration, the IRS received hundreds of emails asking for the Commissioner to end the audit of President-elect Donald Trump’s tax returns, and report all violations to the Attorney General.

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Treasury produces one page memo to justify claim that Trump tax cut will generate $1.8 trillion in revenue

Treasury produces one page memo to justify claim that Trump tax cut will generate $1.8 trillion in revenue

Back in December, in response to reporting of Treasury claims that the proposed Trump tax cuts would generate $1.8 trillion in revenue, we requested the reporting and analysis that led to that conclusion. In response, the Treasury produced a single-page memo, which appeared to be the exact same document referenced in the article included in our request.

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Bureau of Prisons looks to privatization amid staffing cuts

Bureau of Prisons looks to privatization amid staffing cuts

The Trump administration’s policies will be benefiting the bank accounts of the country’s largest for-profit prison operators and echo correctional policies that have been controversial since the ’80s.

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Bureau of Land Management looks to limit the number of FOIA requests organizations can file with the agency

Bureau of Land Management looks to limit the number of FOIA requests organizations can file with the agency

According to records obtained by the Washington Post, the Bureau of Land Management is recommending new legislation that would limit the number of FOIA requests individuals and agencies could file with the agency, create stricter criteria for fee waivers, and increase fees for “search and redaction.”

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FOIAing the Trump Administration: A look at federal employee satisfaction surveys

FOIAing the Trump Administration: A look at federal employee satisfaction surveys

The nonprofit Partnership for Public Service analyzed data from the Office of Personnel Management’s annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey to create an index ranking of which agencies are the best places to work, according to their employees. One of the most interesting ways to sort this ranking is the change from 2016 to 2017. In many cases, FOIA has given us clues about why certain agencies experienced big swings in employee satisfaction in the first year of the Trump administration. In other cases, this statistic can tell us which agencies - particularly smaller, seldom covered ones - warrant more FOIA scrutiny.

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FOIA shows Trump-owned properties continue to benefit from his Presidency

FOIA shows Trump-owned properties continue to benefit from his Presidency

A new FOIA release obtained by Property of the People shows that Trump-owned properties have continued to receive government funds, in what appears to be a violation of the emoluments clause.

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Even Congress wasn't allowed details of FBI's Steven Mnuchin probe

Even Congress wasn’t allowed details of FBI’s Steven Mnuchin probe

Last year, a letter from the FBI indicated that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tied to an ongoing federal investigation. In response, Senator Sherrod Brown called for the FBI to release any relevant details so that Congress could make an informed decision. His request was rejected - a week after Mnuchin was already confirmed.

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FOIAing the Trump Administration: The difficult task of tracking how Trump is profiting from the presidency

FOIAing the Trump Administration: The difficult task of tracking how Trump is profiting from the presidency

With mixed result, FOIA requesters have put a lot of effort into trying to track how Donald Trump is profiting from the presidency. This week, we’ll take a look at what FOIA has and hasn’t been able to reveal about Trump’s profits from foreign emoluments and government agencies’ use of his properties.

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Trump’s deregulation efforts are still going strong

Trump’s deregulation efforts are still going strong

President Donald J. Trump rolled into his first year in office with huge claims about the ways he would be scaling back government involvement in Americans’ lives. But slashing regulations on businesses isn’t a wholesale way to ensure better lives for the American people.

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Under Trump, a strained FOIA continues to show its seams

Under Trump, a strained FOIA continues to show its seams

A little over a year ago, I took a look at what FOIA might look like under the Trump administration. Unfortunately for transparency, things have turned out much as we expected.

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Browse over a year of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's calendar

Browse over a year of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s calendar

In response to a FOIA request by Taylor Scott Amarel, the Federal Communications Commission has released nearly two year’s worth of Chairman Ajit Pai’s calendar. That’s a lot of entries to look over, which is why we’re asking for your help.

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FOIAing the Trump Administration: After a year, aspects of Trump appointees’ ethics agreements begin to expire

FOIAing the Trump Administration: After a year, aspects of Trump appointees’ ethics agreements begin to expire

Trump has been in office for one year, which means some of his earliest appointees will soon be free of certain promises in their ethics agreements. This week, we take a look at how you can investigate Trump appointees’ ethical obligations using public records.

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Don't FOIA Trump's White House

Don’t FOIA Trump’s White House

One thing we get asked about a lot is if it’s possible to FOIA for XYZ thing that President Donald J. Trump was reported to have done or said. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the answer is no, for reasons we’ll outline today.

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After a banner year under Trump, local scrutiny of private prisons is as important as ever

After a banner year under Trump, local scrutiny of private prisons is as important as ever

The administration’s attitude has helped to make the last year one of the most promising for the private prison industry, but local initiatives continue to combat its expansion at home.

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FOIAing the Trump Administration: challenging prevailing narratives

FOIAing the Trump Administration: challenging prevailing narratives

FOIA is most commonly considered a reporter’s and citizen’s tool for establishing hard facts: dates, dollar amounts, data, etc. But FOIA is also useful in the trickier area of narrative. This week, we take a look a some examples of how FOIA was used to challenge a prevailing narrative from press coverage of the administration or that the administration itself sought to advance.

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FOIAing the Trump Administration: resources for your 2018 requests

FOIAing the Trump Administration: resources for your 2018 requests

In 2017, FOIA requests contributed valuable oversight to the Trump administration. If you’re wondering where to start this new year, imitating successful requests is an easy way to get the ball rolling. 2017 also yielded many repositories of calendars, travel records, ethics pledges, and other documents that you can mine for FOIA request ideas. For the first week of 2018, we rounded up resources that can springboard your efforts to FOIA the Trump administration.

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FOIAing the Trump Administration: the danger of assuming bad faith

FOIAing the Trump Administration: the danger of assuming bad faith

FOIA works best when everyone assumes that requests are made in good faith, as a means for journalists, activists and average citizens alike to contribute in a meaningful way to oversight of the their government. This week, we take a look at a few stories that undermine that assumption of good faith, both among government officials and in the public eye.

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FOIAing the Trump Administration: defending against the charge of ‘fake news’

FOIAing the Trump Administration: defending against the charge of ‘fake news’

President Trump famously and frequently attempts to undermine trust in reporting on his administration with accusations of “fake news.” It’s a practice that has trickled down through his agencies, with cabinet members and public affairs officials attempting to portray unfavorable stories as fake or biased. The solution? File more FOIA requests!

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FOIAing the Trump Administration: The FCC and Net Neutrality

FOIAing the Trump Administration: The FCC and Net Neutrality

Ahead of the vote, we take a look at the transparency controversies surrounding Trump’s Federal Communications Commission and how FOIA requesters are contributing oversight.

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FOIAing the Trump Administration: What’s going on at the EPA?

FOIAing the Trump Administration: What’s going on at the EPA?

The Environmental Protection Agency last week pledged to clear out its backlog of FOIA requests from the Obama administration, but the agency is at the same time experiencing a glut of new requests. This week, we take a close look at the notable successes and frustrations of FOIAing Trump’s EPA.

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FOIAing the Trump Administration: scheduling priorities and declassification via tweet

FOIAing the Trump Administration: scheduling priorities and declassification via tweet

Many impactful stories about the Trump administration began with FOIA requests for administration figures’ calendars, meeting schedules, and visitor logs. This week, we take a look at what these logs and calendars have revealed about administration priorities, as well as an interesting FOIA lawsuit based on Trump’s tweet.

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FOIAing the Trump administration: local ICE impacts and ongoing industry ties

FOIAing the Trump administration: local ICE impacts and ongoing industry ties

The best records requests are specific, so if you want to know how the Trump administration’s aggressive immigration enforcement tactics are impacting your area, why not ask your local institutions?

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FOIAing the Trump administration: tracking travel, investigations, and whether Trump’s cabinet thinks he’s a ‘moron.’

FOIAing the Trump administration: tracking travel, investigations, and whether Trump’s cabinet thinks he’s a ‘moron.’

Starting today, every Tuesday we’ll be putting together a weekly roundup of how FOIA is contributing to oversight of the Trump administration.

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GAO not releasing details on collection agency with financial ties to Betsy DeVos' contested bid with the Department of Education

GAO not releasing details on collection agency with financial ties to Betsy DeVos’ contested bid with the Department of Education

If a company is going to be reimbursed for fees associated with filing bid protests against an agency headed up by a person with whom they’ve done business in the past, both the process by which the protests came to be sustained and any reimbursements paid to the company ought to be a matter of public record. In the case of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Performant Financial Corporation, that isn’t the case.

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ODNI claims it can't find evidence of Trump investigation that clearly exists

ODNI claims it can’t find evidence of Trump investigation that clearly exists

Back in March, Emma Best requested copies of “written requests for investigations or reports relating to Donald J. Trump or his campaign” from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Just this week, the ODNI responded, saying that after a “comprehensive search,” it couldn’t find any. Which is strange, because as a simple Google search found responsive records.

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Here is how the Department of Energy responded to the 74 questions posed by the new Trump administration

Here is how the Department of Energy responded to the 74 questions posed by the new Trump administration

Before President Donald J. Trump even took office, the Department of Energy found itself rattled by the questions the administration was posing. In a survey that was widely reported on, the administration demanded to know everything from highest paid employees to who was involved in climate research.

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Over two-thirds of all Title IX cases that have ever been resolved were a result of guidelines Betsy DeVos just rescinded

Over two-thirds of all Title IX cases that have ever been resolved were a result of guidelines Betsy DeVos just rescinded

A recently-released list of all closed Title IX complaints regarding sexual assault at postsecondary institutions shows that over two-thirds of all cases that have ever been resolved came after the 2011 Dear Colleague letter was introduced - making Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ decision to rescind those guidelines all the more frustrating.

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FOIA requests for data shine light on Trump administration

FOIA requests for data shine light on Trump administration

Smart FOIA requests recently have shown how a government immigration complaint database has channelled fear and paranoia, helped a reporter see which journalists and activists get under a politician’s skin, and helped dig into how Trump officials are spending their time. Plus a new audit finds mix news out of Illinois.

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Kindle Project supports MuckRock's work to open up Trump administration and private prisons

Kindle Project supports MuckRock’s work to open up Trump administration and private prisons

MuckRock’s mission has been to make government more accountable and open to the people. For the past three years that’s included a special focus on private prisons, and late last year we launched a project focused on the incoming Trump administration. Today, we’re excited to announce a $10,000 grant by the Kindle Project to further those missions, as well as a part-time opening.

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Justice Department confirms "ongoing investigation" into Donald Trump's presidential campaign

Justice Department confirms “ongoing investigation” into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign

Last year, Emma Best filed a FOIA with the FBI for all records on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Within a couple months, the Bureau responded by claiming they couldn’t find anything. Emma appealed, citing the FBI’s public statements - and just this week, the Justice Department confirmed there while there were records, they couldn’t be released on grounds there is an ongoing investigation.

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Between the election and the inauguration, the NYPD spent an estimated $35 million guarding Trump Tower

Between the election and the inauguration, the NYPD spent an estimated $35 million guarding Trump Tower

Back in January, MuckRock’s Beryl Lipton filed public records requests with the NYPD for how much the city was spending in security details for President-elect Donald Trump. Those budgets just came in last week, and they confirm reports that Trump was costing his hometown the equivalent of a President’s annual salary every day.

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Read the Department of Justice's guide to impeachment from the '70s

Read the Department of Justice’s guide to impeachment from the ‘70s

Since before even taking office, President Donald J. Trump has been the center of intense impeachment gossip. Cut through the speculation and read how it works from the source, the Department of Justice itself.

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We don't know who's heading up Trump's deregulation teams

We don’t know who’s heading up Trump’s deregulation teams

Two months after the deadline set via President Trump’s Executive Order 13777 directing the departments of the federal government to create Regulatory Reform Task Forces, many agencies have still not made public the members comprising the new groups. So who will be deciding which regulations make the cut? Right now, we don’t know.

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Trump’s Regulatory Reform teams prepare for action

Trump’s Regulatory Reform teams prepare for action

The President wants to see fewer federal regulations and has issued multiple Executive Orders to that effect. But the one-in-two-out approach may leave rules with important intentions on the chopping block.

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Join our project to FOIA the Trump administration

Join our project to FOIA the Trump administration

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.

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221 Requests

No Responsive Documents

10 files

Andrew Puzder

Emma Best sent this request to the Department of Labor of the United States of America

Awaiting Response

Betsy DeVos Ed Dept

Emma Best sent this request to the U.S. Department of Education of the United States of America

No Responsive Documents

Chicago Trump (Illinois State Police)

Joseph Uchill sent this request to the Illinois State Police of Illinois

Completed

3 files

Clock Tower

Emma Best sent this request to the National Park Service of the United States of America

Completed

4 files

Days of Prayer for Rain

Emma Best sent this request to the Office of the Governor of Texas

Awaiting Acknowledgement

FOIAs for Trump Taxes

Emma Best sent this request to the Internal Revenue Service of the United States of America

No Responsive Documents

4 files

Guccifer400

Emma Best sent this request to the United States Secret Service of the United States of America

Awaiting Response

Linda McMahon SBA

Emma Best sent this request to the Small Business Administration of the United States of America

Awaiting Response

7 files

Mnuchin Treasury

Emma Best sent this request to the Department of Treasury of the United States of America

No Responsive Documents

3 files

Oleg Erovinkin

Emma Best sent this request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America

Awaiting Response

6 files

Scott Pruitt

Emma Best sent this request to the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States of America

Awaiting Acknowledgement

Tom Price HHS

Emma Best sent this request to the Department of Health and Human Services of the United States of America

Awaiting Response

1 file

Trump-CIA Comms

Emma Best sent this request to the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America

No Responsive Documents

7 files

Trump For America

Emma Best sent this request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America

No Responsive Documents

2 files

Trump investigation requests (Air Force)

Emma Best sent this request to the Air Force of the United States of America

No Responsive Documents

1 file

Trump Poster Proof/Communications

JPat Brown sent this request to the Library of Congress of the United States of America

No Responsive Documents

Trump/revenue

Adam Vaccaro sent this request to the Department of Revenue of Massachusetts

Withdrawn

Trump Sanctuary City Threat Emails

JPat Brown sent this request to the Mayor's Office of Boston, MA