Must read FOI stories – 7/25/14
- TOP MUST READ: How an activist journalist’s commitment to a poor Chicago community led to a big FOIA win.
- FOIA requests to Federal Election Commission about the Internal Revenue Service Tea Party targeting scandal results in backlogs. What’s more, IRS emails reveal huge loophole in federal open-records practices
- Speaking of which: Want public documents from the IRS? OpenSecrets.org has a handy flow chart to show you how.
- In the world of delayed FOIA response excuses: Dozens of public information requests filed with a New York City’s county sheriff went unseen because they were being diverted to outdated email addresses.
- A lawsuit filed by Florida’s largest teachers’ union and the case of a local teacher accused of producing and distributing child pornography have put a spotlight on a controversial statewide program that allows students to attend private schools on the public’s dime — but doesn’t hold those schools to the same standards and level of transparency required of public schools.
- The argument for why philanthropic non-profit foundations for colleges — designed to supply the school extra funding in times of state budget cuts — should open their books. This editorial is why the University of Connecticut Foundation should be more transparent.
- Journalism groups appealed a decision Thursday that is keeping thousands of pages of documents from full public view in litigation over an investigation into groups supporting Gov. Scott Walker.
- A rejected FOIA request gives ProPublic reporters a whole other scoop.
- The Electronic Privacy Information Center has sued the United States Customs and Border Protection to compel the agency to produce documents relating to a relatively new comprehensive intelligence database of people and cargo crossing the U.S. border.
- New Jersey judge rules that state agency wrongly denied an open records request for open records request logs.
- All the critical material in an 81-page 2011 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s opinion on NSA surveillance has been declassified and made public, a federal judge ruled, rejecting the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s request for an unredacted copy.
- The Des Moines Register wins access to video and audio records of a Taser death incident under a settlement reached Tuesday with the Iowa Department of Public Safety.
- Small business websites being sued for publishing open records.
- Clerks in one central Illinois town got so bogged down with requests from one person that they spent most of their days searching for and copying records.
- House Republicans and Senate Democrats may finally have found something on which they both agree needs improvement: transparency.
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