The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse tool, based on documents filed in court through existing systems like PACER, will help both FOIA lawyers and you.
- SEJ Publication Types:Topics on the Beat:Visibility:
The draft policy, released recently by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), barely addresses media access. It leaves this to the purview of the Commerce Department Public Communications Policy — which has not changed since the last year of the Bush administration.
AP reported President Barack Obama received an award "for making the government more open and transparent — presented to him behind closed doors with no news coverage or public access allowed." The event offered evidence that Obama's minders may be the worst enemies of his presidency — and that the PR pros are badly fumbling the PR ball.
Watchdogs were alarmed last week that the GOP "budget-cutting" campaign had targeted OpenGov data programs in order to fund tax cuts for billionaires. But sharp-eyed Daniel Schuman has been covering the developments on the Sunlight Foundation's blog since the first fiscal year 2011 budget bill passed.
The Freedom-of-Information establishment annually tries to remind the citizens and journalists of our democracy that this form of government must have a free press and lots of information to be healthy. This year was no exception. They celebrated "Sunshine Week," advancing freedom-of-information on many fronts.
Sunshine Week is spearheaded by the American Society of News Editors with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Gridiron Club — with collaboration by a large number of coalition member groups.
Former National Freedom of Information director Coalition Charles N. Davis said the bill "puts Utah in a class of one, alone in an anti-democratic zone in which the governors enjoy almost carte blanche over what information they deign to share with the rabble.”
In the case of Milner v. Department of the Navy, the court rejected an expansive interpretation of the FOIA exemption on personnel matters. And in another FOIA case decided March 1, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations do not have a right of personal privacy that can prevent the federal government from disclosing records about them.
Here are links to some recent Congressional Research Service reports that may be of interest to energy and environmental journalists, courtesy of the Federation of American Scientists, a nonprofit watchdog group.
As part of the continuing resolution (HR 1) the House approved largely along party lines an amendment sponsored by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) to cut an additional $8.5 million from the budget for EPA's Greenhouse Gas Registry.