Must read FOI stories – 7/07/14
Every week I’ll be doing a roundup of the freedom of information stories around the Web. If you have an FOI story you want to share, send me an email or tweet me (Missed last week because of 4th of July, so you’re getting a double dose this week.)
- No moving targets in FOIA denials: Missouri judge rules that government agencies cannot give a different exemption than the original one used to deny the FOIA request after being sued.
- The Red Cross is fighting a FOIA request from ProPublica about how the charity spent its money during Hurricane Sandy, claiming that information is a “trade secret.”
- Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn listens to FOI advocates and vetoed a bill that would’ve placed extra burdens on people filing public records requests.
- The California Supreme Court will review whether government workers must disclose email, text messages and other electronic communication about government matters on their personal smartphones, email accounts or other private devices.
- Judicial Watch, a government accountability group, filed a legal motion about the “lost emails” of ex-IRS official Lois Learner.
- New FOIA protocol for Texas college: send every open records request to attorney (who bills at $195 an hour).
- After claiming it didn’t exist, the NYPD releases “Freedom of Information Law guide” — which its records officers use in processing FOIA requests.
- FOIA suffers setback in South Carolina at the hands of the legislature and Supreme Court, which recently ruled that public bodies don’t have to issue agendas for regularly scheduled meetings.
- The Better Government Association is suing Cook County after it allegedly claimed that logs detailing potentially illegal county employment inquiries were exempt under the Freedom of Information Act.
- Is President Obama worse in transparency than Nixon? The Obama administration is accused of hiding public information.
- U.S. District Court grants hearing for case filed by Judicial Watch over the “missing IRS emails.”
- The Colorado Supreme Court ruled that people who win open-records lawsuits can be reimbursed for legal fees — even if they win access to only some of the records
- Greensboro, N.C., has opened its open records request log by putting them all online.
- FOIA story idea: How do your state agencies differ in storing emails?
- Massachusetts SWAT team claims they’re immune from public records requests, ACLU sues.
- Four Arkansas city directors and one city clerk are being sued by another city director for FOIA and open meetings violations.
- The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit against the National Security Agency seeking information about the extent to which the NSA might exploit software security flaws (in addition to the lawsuit they have with the Justice Department over access to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court records)
- Murder convict claims that a missing tape he requested under FOIA would prove his innocence. It was originally withheld from him by the Justice Department.
- Georgia man arrested for trying to make public records request at local sheriff’s office, documenting the whole occurrence on his GoPro camera.
- Illinois county judge dismissed a lawsuit seeking to remove a mayor from office, but could fine the city for violating FOIA.
- CIA employee forced out for using the Freedom of Information Act to get his own agency to release documents to him.
- Boston’s Department of Children and Families hunkered down and stopped responding to many requests for information after coming under siege last fall for losing track of a young Fitchburg boy who was later found dead.
David Schick is the summer 2014 Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern for SPJ, reporting and researching public records and FOI issues. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or interact on Twitter: @davidcschick