A bipartisan team of senior U.S. Senators has introduced legislation to clarify important sections of the Freedom of Information Act and codify a presumption of disclosure for commercial records.
Steven Rich, the database editor for the investigations team at The Washington Post, recently gained access to a database that traced every pain pill distributed across the US between 2006 and 2012. The database provides a look at where opioids have been distributed by which pharmaceutical companies, and shows that the federal government has long been aware of the scope of the opioid crisis. Rich spoke to MuckRock about taking advantage of a lawsuit to gain access to the Drug Enforcement Administration pain pill database and how to use public records to report on private companies.
Last Monday, the Supreme Court prevented release of government spending data to a South Dakota newspaper, handing down a ruling that is expected to limit the public’s understanding of how tax dollars are spent in the private sector.
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.
Earlier this year, we reported on an upcoming Supreme Court case, Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, which some in the FOIA community feared might severely restrict the public’s ability to track the flow of tax dollars into private companies.
Today, SCOTUS passed down its ruling, and it appears those fears were justified.