When the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s FOIA office in the Records Management Division prepares to release a file that it deems significant, newsworthy or controversial, it issues what’s known as a High Visibility Memoranda. These memos, circulated to different parts of the Bureau and often to the Director’s Office as well as outside agencies, outline the proposed releases and their possible fallout. A recent release of over 500 pages of these memos serves as a list of files for FOIA requesters to file new requests for so the files can be published online, as well as showing government reactions to the requests themselves.
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.
Founder of Techdirt and the Copia Institute, Mike Masnick joined us last Friday for a talk on government ownership of copyrights.
Opposition researcher Abraham Payton joined us last Friday to discuss how his company, Due Diligence, uses FOIA to investigate public figures.
The Securities and Exchange Commission receives thousands of FOIA requests each year - over 13,000 during the last one - and yet they managed to walk away the winner of MuckRock’s annual FOIA March Madness competition for the second year running. Other departments, though, have also provided some sort of response, and they’ve done so with variation; we’ll take a look at some of those differences here.
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