The NFOIC open government blog is a compendium of original concepts and analysis as well as ideas, edited excerpts and materials from a variety of sources. When the information comes from another source, we will attribute it and provide a link. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited; we will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

For Advocate posts prior to July, 2011, visit

July 22, 2015 9:57 AM

The state attorney general will be holding a summit next week for those who are interested in learning about transparency and accountability in government.

The summit, scheduled for July 31 from 9:00 a.m. to noon at the Roger Williams University School of Law, will be free and open to the public. Continue>>>


July 21, 2015 9:49 AM

A ruling from the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records has thrown a new monkey wrench into the ongoing dispute over Right to Know requests in Centre County.

In May, Centre County Public Defender David Crowley submitted a RTK request seeking phone records of contact between District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller and Judge Bradley Lunsford – but that request was denied.  Continue>>>


July 21, 2015 9:29 AM

The state auditor’s office is conducting an audit of the state legislature.

Democrat Nicole Galloway said her office’s reviews of the Republican-controlled House and Senate are regularly scheduled audits, the findings of the last ones having been released in 2013 under then-auditor Tom Schweich (R).  Continue>>>


July 21, 2015 8:55 AM

Four powerful lawmakers are pressing the Treasury Department to explain why it has not yet ensured that some of the tools used by the Recovery Operations Center will live on after the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board ceases operations this fall.

Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, respectively, and Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), chairman and ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, respectively,  wrote to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew on July 16 asking for the department’s plans to incorporate the center’s data analytics tools into the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act).  Continue>>>


July 21, 2015 8:48 AM

LOS ANGELES — When the reporter Jason Leopold gets ready to take on the United States government, he psychs himself up by listening to the heavy metal bands Slayer and Pantera.

Mr. Leopold describes himself as “a pretty rageful guy.” He argued recently with staff members at his son’s preschool because he objected to their references to “Indians” and they objected to his wearing family-unfriendly punk rock T-shirts to school meetings.  Continue>>>


July 21, 2015 8:38 AM

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority officials will once again ascend Capitol Hill to answer lawmakers’ questions about the transit system’s safety and management.

Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on July 21 to follow-up on questions raised after the deadly incident at the L’Enfant Metro stop in January, where one woman died and dozens were hospitalized after being trapped in a smoke-filled train.  Continue>>>


July 20, 2015 9:52 AM

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launched the first in a new series of monthly reports to highlight key trends from consumer complaints submitted to the Bureau. The monthly report includes complaint data on company performance, complaint volume, state and local information, and product trends. Each month, the report will spotlight a particular product and geographic location – this report provides a closer look at debt collection complaints and complaints from consumers in Milwaukee, Wis. The reports will provide insight for the public into the hundreds of thousands of consumer complaints on financial products and services handled by the CFPB.

“Consumer complaints are the CFPB’s compass and play a central role in everything we do. They help us identify and prioritize problems for potential action,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “These monthly reports will enable us to share that data with the public more regularly, so that everyone can benefit from the information.”  Continue>>>


July 20, 2015 9:31 AM

City of Detroit officials, including Mayor Mike Duggan, sometimes use private e-mail accounts to conduct the public’s business — a practice that concerns open records experts and one that has hounded Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Duggan explained his tolerance for city employees using private e-mail accounts for official business after the Free Press obtained records through the Freedom of Information Act showing Melvin Butch Hollowell, the city’s top lawyer, using both his Gmail account and city-issued e-mail account to communicate with a Detroit International Bridge Co. executive during negotiations for the pending Riverside Park land swap.  Continue>>>


July 20, 2015 8:39 AM

Public agencies in Missouri that don’t respond in three days to requests for public records under the state Sunshine Law give up their right to block the release of the records requested, a judge says in a lawsuit over the release of the pharmacy name in Missouri’s executions.

An acknowledgement of the receipt of the request is not enough, the judge said. The law says the public body either has to provide the records, explain the cause of the delay along with a timeline for disclosure, or deny the records citing an exemption in the state law upon request.  Continue>>>


July 17, 2015 2:25 PM

WHEN THE DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER Laura Poitras filed a complaint under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) against three US government agencies this week, most media outlets ran stories on the details that built her argument, overlooking the issue of public records.

After all, who could resist the story of a bitter and burned federal government hounding a journalist who appeared to have crossed some unspoken line? More than 50 times between 2006 and 2012, her lawsuit alleges, security forces targeted the journalist for intense rounds of detention and questioning. Government officials had, at one point, even confiscated her laptop, cellphone, and notebooks. Continue>>>


July 17, 2015 9:36 AM

TALLAHASSEE – Project Sunburst, a public email-disclosure system started by Gov. Rick Scott after he took office in 2011, has been more of “a sunshine bust,” an open-government advocate said Thursday.

The First Amendment Foundation, a Tallahassee-based watchdog group, sent an email to its members saying the system “has shed little light on the activities of the governor, his staff or his working relationship with the departments of state government.”  Continue>>>


July 17, 2015 9:10 AM

JEFFERSON CITY — A circuit judge has ruled that Missouri violated open records laws by refusing to disclose the pharmacies that make the state's execution drug.

Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem ruled Wednesday that the Department of Corrections broke the Sunshine Law.  Continue>>>


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