Last weekend, an anonymously-attributed presentation entitled “FOIA Strategies and Tactics” started making the rounds in the #OpenGov community, offering something for beginners, veterans, and fans of vintage Tex Avery alike. While the whole thing’s worth a read, today we wanted to focus on the five points brought up in the presentation’s conclusion, as they address some often-overlooked elements of the whole FOIA process.
An improved public records law was passed on Beacon Hill two years ago, but just five miles away, the Medford Police Department continues to neglect its legal obligations to records requesters and the public.
Despite a solid track record of effectiveness, it can be daunting to write an appeal without knowing the proper language to do so. That’s where you come in - by sharing your winning appeals, we’ll be able to populate our database with successful appeal language and exemptions used by states across the nation. We’ll use that database to build out our appeal tool, which helps requesters write their own appeal letters via MuckRock.
One question we get asked a lot here at MuckRock is what to do in situations where an agency claims it has no responsive records when the requester knows the records exist. It comes up with frustrating frequency, we’ve found that the root cause is often one of the five following factors.