In 2017, the Department of the Interior announced a new initiative to “reemphasize hunting and fishing” at the DOI: “Secretary’s Shotgun Showdown,” a video game tournament in which employees would take on then-Secretary Ryan Zinke in a game of “Big Buck Hunter Pro” for the chance to win “bragging rights” and a “Beverage on the Balcony.” Just days before the game was dropped off, key details had yet to be finalized.
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.
After a month of phone calls, letters, emails, faxes, and failed FOIAs, we’ve reached the final two competitors in our annual match-up of federal Freedom of Information Act offices. We began with the same request - a broad, arguably “burdensome” call for all “talking points” emails since Election 2016 - sent to 64 different FOIA agencies, and today we’re left with two offices that have worked hard to clarify the request, limit the results, and get us a sample of the information we’re after.
Elsewhere in the world, Wildcats and Leprechauns left March as the Masters of Madness, but here at MuckRock, our FOIA-themed spin on the popular springtime showdown carries on to the Final Four, and what a four they are, folks. We’ve had many great competitors, and this round sees some more heartbreaking eliminations. Let’s take a look.