We here at MuckRock are always keeping our eyes and ears open for interesting applications of FOI laws, potential FOI filings, and the use of FOI-acquired information. All of the stuff we’re looking at can be found here anytime you like, and if you have any suggestions, please send them on over to email@example.com.
Now to the news:
Prince William Seeks Investigation of ICE: The supervisors of Prince William County, VA, are considering litigation against DHS after the department failed to respond to their FOI request of over a year ago, wherein they requested information of how ICE has been handling the almost 3,000 illegal immigrants that the county has reported. More specifically, the county also sought information on why one Carlos A. Martinelly-Montano, an illegal immigrant with a long criminal record, was still a resident of the county despite being reported to ICE. As the request was not fulfilled, county officials are considering asking Congress to look in to DHS’ handling of illegal immigrants.
Loose Lips Daily: Give My Kid A Job Edition: A FOI request by American University radio (WAMU)’s Patrick Madden reveals that DC mayor Vince Gray’s administration has just hired the children of two of his closest advisors: his best friend Lorraine Greene and his new chief of staff Geri Mason Hall. While there is no evidence of nepotism—which is governed severely in DC—the city is supposedly in a hiring freeze and running low on money, and these hirings of close friends of the mayor are at least a little suspicious.
Federal judge orders release of document metadata: The Reporters’ Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) reports that a New York State federal judge has ordered that the metadata—”information related to the history, tracking or management of an electronic document”—of government documents must be released under FOI requests. The ruling came in response to ICE’s release of an unsearchable PDF to the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, which had requested the electronic documents in their “native formats”. The court ruled, in part, that “metadata maintained by the agency as a part of an electronic record is presumptively producible under FOIA, unless the agency demonstrates that such metadata is not ‘readily producible,’” a decision that the U.S. Attorney has declined to comment on.
A Condensed User Guide for FOIA Requests: Unredacted, a blog that analyzes and makes more clear information from the National Security Archive (NSA), has released this simple, useful guide for filing your own FOI requests. With plenty of links to other guides—primarily the NSA’s—this informative blog post is useful for anyone with questions about the FOIA process.