D.C. Circuit Disagrees with DOJ Handling of FOIA Request

This case (American Immigration Lawyers Association v. Executive Office for Immigration Review) involves a request by the AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for records relating to complaints filed against immigration judges, who are federal employees working under the Department of Justice (DOJ). AILA was looking for a pattern of problems with certain judges in their handling of immigration appeals.

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DC: Federal judge just disclosed how often law enforcement asked to secretly track electronic records

A federal judge released a list Wednesday of all sealed requests made in Washington in 2012 for Americans’ telephone and Internet activity, a step toward bringing more public scrutiny to rapidly expanding secret law enforcement activities.

The action came in a case brought by a journalist to unseal a much larger collection of information about court-ordered electronic surveillance in closed criminal investigations in the nation’s capital.

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DCOGC Press Release: Reporters Say They Can Live With Federal Plan to Post All Records Released Under FOIA – With Delay

Results reported August 30 showed a large majority of reporters answering a survey by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and who use the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in their work support plans due in the new year that will require federal agencies to post online all records released.

Of the 107 responding, 83 per cent supported the idea, though 58 per cent did so only on condition that general release was delayed as much as a month to protect against competitors scooping the original requester.

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D.C. coalition to hold annual meeting

ANNOUNCEMENT: The D.C. Open Government Coalition will hold its annual meeting on Thursday, Sept. 17 starting at 4:30 p.m. The public is invited and refreshments will be served.

Coalition directors will join guests in discussing important open government matters in the District, including access to video from police body cameras (and to public records in general), open meetings and open data. The Coalition will welcome suggestions for its work in coming months. Continue>>>

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US EPA Escapes Sanctions But Incurs Judge’s Wrath For Deficient FOIA Responses

In a March 2, 2015 decision, Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the US District Court for the District of Columbia denied requested spoliation sanctions against US EPA but blasted the Agency for its “continued disregard” for its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) obligations and “offensively unapologetic” actions in response to claims of insufficiency.

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D.C. government office released students’ personal data to a reporter

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education notified parents this week that personal information about students was inadvertently sent to a reporter in February, education officials said.
 
District officials released an Excel file in response to a Freedom of Information Act inquiry from the Web site BuzzFeed, that included audited enrollment data about individual students and information about suspensions and expulsions.
 

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DC Court Rules Officials Must Turn Over Personal Emails In FOIA Requests

The D.C. Superior Court has ruled that city officials engaging in business on personal email accounts to circumvent government transparency must surrender those emails in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

According to The Washington City Paper, D.C. residents suspicious over Commissioner Dianne Barnes’ support for the McMillan Sand Filtration site in Ward 5 wanted a closer look at Barnes’ communications, and filed multiple FOIA requests to do so.

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Washington D.C. launches FOIA portal, transparency initiative

Washington D.C.has launched a new effort to process Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. A new online portal will make it possible for individuals to submit requests and have them processed online. The new portal, powered by “FOIAXpress,” is the District’s first-ever citywide FOIA processing system. Mayor Gray also issued an executive order that mandates that the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) hire a Chief Data Officer (CDO) to assist in the deployment and to help coordinate additional open data programming.

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