your foia response is bad and you should feel bad
While the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s track record with FOIA has never been good, it’s hard not to argue that it has recently gotten exponentially worse. In just the last few years, the Bureau has thrown out thousands of FOIA requests because there were too “burdensome,” investigated FOIA requesters, redacted the names of fictional characters and engaged in questionable fees practices. However, just last month, the FBI hit a new low and declared that - contrary to all statute and case law - the dead have an expectation of privacy.
What’s with Ajit Pai’s Reese’s mug? FCC resorts to high fees and invasive questions to avoid telling
After several stories about the Federal Communications Commission abusing FOIA exemptions to avoid releasing embarrassing emails, the agency appears to have switched tactics, demanding a requester provide personal information not required under the law and charging hundreds in search fees.
The Federal Communications Commission is withholding Chairman Ajit Pai’s emails regarding a video in which he did “the Harlem Shake” to dismiss critics of net neutrality repeal, citing the deliberative process exemption.
MuckRock files requests to over 9000 agencies in all 50 states, and the overwhelming number of our interactions with those agencies is positive, sometimes downright pleasant. Then there’s agencies like the Lexington Police Department in Kentucky.
FOIA is both a vital tool for the public to gain access to government records, and a frustrating process that reveals infuriating facts and sometimes even more infuriating government employees - as well as super helpful public servants who replenish your faith in humanity just enough to keep you filing FOIAs another day.
Here’s the best and worst of some of MuckRock’s recent interactions with the keepers of public information.