NFOIC’s FOI Friday for November 18, 2011

A few recent items selected from many of interest that we might not have drawn attention to earlier:

DNC sends massive FOIA request for Romney's email records

Washington, D.C.—In a FOIA request sent Thursday evening to Mark Reilly, Chief Legal Counsel of the Executive Office of the Governor, the DNC asked for records pertaining to communications between Romney and his staff about their decision to wipe their electronic records clean before leaving Massachusetts statehouse. For good measure, the DNC also asked for "any and all electronic correspondence" that Romney and anyone in his administration (not just the members who erased their emails) made while in office that contain the following terms:

Visit The Huffington Post for the rest.

Open government leaders support funding for key transparency initiatives

OMB Watch and the Sunlight Foundation today released an open letter to the U.S. Senate supporting continued funding for the Electronic Government Fund's important transparency projects. The letter echoes the Obama administration's policy statement issued Nov. 10.

Visit OMB Watch for the rest.

Judge: FBI must pay penalty to Calif. Muslims

SANTA ANA, Calif.—The FBI must pay the legal fees of Muslim activist groups that sued the federal agency for access to its files, according to a U.S. District Court ruling filed Thursday. Judge Cormac Carney made clear that the financial sanction was not based on the merits of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California's Freedom of Information Act case, but it was to punish a government that chose to lie to its own judicial system.

Visit for the rest.

COLUMN: Thalidomide lawyer files FOIA suit

A lawyer for 15 U.S. plaintiffs who claim they suffered birth defects because their mothers took the morning-sickness drug Thalidomide sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for FOIA violations. The nine-page complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, asserts that the Food and Drug Administration (part of HHS) has improperly failed to turn over documents the lawyer, Kay Reeves of Gordon & Reeves, began requesting more than a year ago.

Visit Reuters for the rest.

Opinion: This is why open record laws matter

The challenge … is to find ways to explain why open records laws matter – and why we get so riled up when federal or state governments take steps to restrict them. So what does any of this have to do with the disturbing chain of events that led to the arrest earlier this month of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky and the firing of legendary head football coach Joe Paterno?

Visit Nashua Telegraph for the rest.

University of Missouri to limit lecture recording

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — From videotaped lectures to podcasts, universities are rushing to embrace the digital revolution. Yet even as some schools invite the public to view course material online, they're starting to grapple with how to keep classroom discussions out of the wrong hands.

Visit Google News for the rest.

35,000 access-to-information requests to go online in Canada

Treasury Board president Tony Clement trumpeted Wednesday the Conservatives’ commitment to “open government” with changes on how people can access federal data as well as browse summaries of all access-to-information requests online.

Visit for the rest.

Opinion: Perry doesn’t practice what he preaches

Jay Root of the Texas Tribune reported: “Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s state office has temporarily stopped deleting e-mails every seven days — as its official document-retention policy allows — thanks to the efforts of a Wisconsin-based political activist who thinks they should be preserved longer. Government-transparency advocate John Washburn has devised a computer program to automatically spit out requests, twice a week, for all of the e-mails generated by the governor’s office. That has had the impact of halting the routine destruction of the records, because the law says files can’t be destroyed if somebody asks for them under the Texas Public Information Act.”

Visit Washington Post Opinions for the rest.