This week’s FOIA round-up: the ethics of mining in Minnesota, problems with for-profit companies in the legal system, and ICE detention records contradict Trump administration statements on migrants
In this week’s FOIA round-up, calendars and emails reveal communication between Trump administration officials and corporate executives in a mining project, a contract with a private pretrial services firm raises questions about the role of for-profit companies in the legal system, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention records reveal that rates of people detained with criminal records has decreased in the past couple of years. Also, a Supreme Court ruling is bad news for people seeking government records pertaining to private entities.
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Director Scott Angelle was caught on tape giving out his cell phone number to skirt public records laws. But thanks to FOIA, we now we have the call logs, and with your help we can find out who the supposed oil industry watchdog was in contact with.
For our Requester’s Voice series, The Young Turks’ senior investigative reporter Ken Klippenstein spoke with us about his love for FOIA, public records reporting during a government shutdown, the perks of going viral, and the “symbiotic relationship” between journalism and activism.
Carrying on an Obama-era interest in identifying citizenship granted on fraudulent information, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is redirecting resources to focus on finding anyone who may have made false statements during the naturalization process.
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.