Exemptions to records laws allow authorities to stifle talk of police reform, paper says

Exemptions to state public records laws allow police departments to conceal vast amounts of information and stifle meaningful discussion about police reform and accountability. According to a Washington Post analysis: All 50 states and the District of Columbia allow police departments to withhold records they consider investigatory. And in 35 states, police misconduct records are…

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Knight FOI Fund provides ‘meaningful vote of support’ to California man seeking Marine emails

By Todd FettigNFOIC outreach coordinator For six years, Dennis Buckovetz worked alone, from the back bedroom of his house, uncovering the details of possible wrongdoing at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego.  Buckovetz, who served in the Vietnam War as a Marine, was working as administrative director of Marine Corps Community Services at…

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Dozens of groups, including NFOIC, urge Congress to reject Pentagon’s request for secrecy

The National Freedom of Information Coalition and 44 other organizations signed a letter opposing the Department of Defense’s proposal to alter the Freedom of Information Act. The letter, written by the Project On Government Oversight, was addressed to leadership of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the House Armed Services Committee. “The Pentagon’s proposed language…

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No, those Fauci emails weren’t leaked; Yes, they were obtained using FOIA

After several media outlets published thousands of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s emails, some public figures claimed the emails had been “leaked.” The Washington Post and BuzzFeed News say they used the Freedom of Information Act to request and obtain the emails of the White House’s chief medical adviser. Niquelle M. Allen, the director of the District…

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New York Times shares its story of using open-records laws to track COVID-19 and racial inequalities

In an April 14, 2021, article, The New York Times shares insights on its use of open-records laws to gain information on COVID-19 cases. Editors say using state and federal FOI laws has allowed the Times to provide a comprehensive look at coronavirus cases nationwide, and has revealed racial inequalities regarding who has faced the…

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Letter, signed by NFOIC, calls for oversight hearing on agency compliance with FOIA

The National Freedom of Information Coalition joined more than two dozen organizations in calling for a hearing on federal agency compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. An April 7, 2021, letter to leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee said a hearing was necessary to understand FOIA implementation by the Trump Administration and to seek…

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Government watchdog files FOIA lawsuit seeking alleged EPA encryption documents

Judicial Watch Inc. filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit March 23 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia alleging that some Environmental Protection Agency officials “may have used the cellphone encryption application ‘Signal’ to thwart government oversight and transparency,” according to a Judicial Watch news release.

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OTG and more than 50 organizations call on ICE to comply with FOIA, release data on immigration enforcement cooperation

A coalition of organizations dedicated to government openness and accountability, human rights, civil rights, and immigrant rights is calling on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to comply with the legal obligations under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and fully disclose information on immigration enforcement cooperation between federal and non-federal law enforcement agencies. We urge ICE to comply with the FOIA in a timely manner, and to permit the release of data on immigration enforcement cooperation in full compliance with local and state transparency laws.

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Classified Directives Listings Disappear from DOD and JCS Websites

FOIA requesters who relied on lists of classified directives published by both the Defense Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to know what documents to file FOIA requests for may now be out of luck. In a transparency backslide, both the DOD and JCS websites no longer publish lists of classified directives and instructions, making it impossible to know what to FOIA.

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D.C. Police Body Camera Update: A Year of Experience Shows None of the Problems Forecast In Mayor’s Push to Close Access

Since public access opened over a year ago, FOIA requests for video from Metropolitan Police body-worn cameras (BWC) have numbered just over sixty and redacting those released so far has cost only $25,000.

Those facts, released by the Open Government Coalition in a Sunshine Week briefing at the National Press Club, are far from the alarming estimates provided by the executive branch to the D.C. Council in the heat of the extended camera debate in 2015.

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