Almost a year ago to the day, I filed a FOIA request with the Federal Communications Commission for emails related to the now-infamous Ajit Pai Harlem Shake video. Today, those records were finally released, revealing just how how far the agency would go to fight accountability over even the stupidest issue.
Austin Evers is the executive director of American Oversight, an independent watchdog that uses litigation to access documents the public is rightfully entitled to under FOIA protections. After serving as senior counsel to the State Department for transparency-related matters under the Obama Administration, Evers founded American Oversight in response to the election of President Donald Trump. Evers shared his experience in FOIA litigation and offered advice to requesters in an interview with MuckRock.
What’s with Ajit Pai’s Reese’s mug? FCC resorts to high fees and invasive questions to avoid telling
After several stories about the Federal Communications Commission abusing FOIA exemptions to avoid releasing embarrassing emails, the agency appears to have switched tactics, demanding a requester provide personal information not required under the law and charging hundreds in search fees.
The Federal Communications Commission is withholding Chairman Ajit Pai’s emails regarding a video in which he did “the Harlem Shake” to dismiss critics of net neutrality repeal, citing the deliberative process exemption.
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.