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FOIA FAQ: What to do when an agency claims not to have records you know it has

FOIA FAQ: What to do when an agency claims not to have records you know it has

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.

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Which cities are refusing to share their #AmazonHQ2 bids - and why

Which cities are refusing to share their #AmazonHQ2 bids - and why

Since launching our project to hunt down every proposal Amazon received for its second headquarters, we’ve found that a number of cities were more than happy to share what they’re offering to lure in the tech giant. A growing number, however, aren’t so keen and are keeping their bids hidden in a shroud of exemptions. Here’s a look at which cities rejected our request and why.

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Florida's cat overlords deny access to dog registration data

Florida’s cat overlords deny access to dog registration data

As a little experiment in transparency, MuckRock set out to file for pet licensing data for the most populous city in each state. The response from Jacksonville, Florida will have you wondering whether or not the state statutes are really protecting their citizen’s privacy, or - the more logical conclusion - serving the whims of their cat overlords.

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Customs and Border Protection has a pretty unreasonable definition of "reasonably described"

Customs and Border Protection has a pretty unreasonable definition of “reasonably described”

Customs and Border Protection has a well-earned reputation for being one of the hardest agencies to get records out of. But with their recent rejections of Curtis Waltman’s FOIA requests for contracts, they’ve crossed the line from frustration into absurdity.

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CIA came up with 126 reasons to deny your FOIA request

CIA came up with 126 reasons to deny your FOIA request

Driven by its never-ending desire to have greater control of what information about its activities are made public, CIA drafted a SECRET report listing 126 things that the Agency could use to argue something was subject to the sources and methods protections. While the list has been used to help justify a number of FOIA withholdings, the list itself has been withheld … to protect the Agency’s intelligence sources and methods.

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