Questions tagged [foia]

Questions about government Freedom of Information laws.

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Is it now impossible to run a FOIA search?

Now that the old FOIA website has shut down, is it impossible to run a simple keyword search to see what FOIA requests have been submitted regarding a certain topic? I don't even see agency-specific ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
154 views

Bizarre boots-on-ground investigation by FBI: transparency and recourse

Alfred is one day contacted by a shopkeeper he befriended, who warned him that an FBI agent had visited his place of work inquiring about his presentation, behaviour etc. He is shortly then also ...
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Is there an email directory of police departments and sheriffs offices for submitting FOI requests?

I have been doing research related to FOI (Freedom of Information) fees and itemized invoices in particular. In this effort I have been contacting a number of departments and offices (ideally all) in ...
Havok's user avatar
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1 answer
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FOIA website - 90% of requests are "Under Agency Review"? What am I missing?

https://foiaonline.gov/foiaonline/action/public/search/advancedSearch The vast majority of entries on "Under Agency Review" with no details, requester names or requester organizations. Even ...
user3807846's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
1k views

Where can FOIA requests be found?

United States federal (e.g. FOIA) and state law allow people to request public records. The requests themselves are public record. Does any public or private entity maintain a database of those ...
Josh Johnson's user avatar
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1 answer
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FOIA to Office of Parliamentary Counsel to gain insight to the intentions of statutory minutiae

Has it ever been done to FOIR the office of parliamentary counsel to find out whether certain minute idiosyncrasies judged by courts to be nonetheless unequivocal so as to reflect intentional ...
TylerDurden's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
728 views

Can a FOIA request reveal how many times I have entered the U.S. as a citizen?

I know there are certain restrictions on personal information for FOIA requests, and verification of such is required beforehand. Even so, should this information be accessible? If so, to which agency ...
Charles Nicholson's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
412 views

Does FOIA apply to computer code?

Would a federal government agency be required to comply with a FOIA request for (unclassified) computer source code (specifically for a mobile app)?
Someone's user avatar
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Why is the Privacy Act called the Privacy Act?

The American Privacy Act allows subjects to access copies of records held on them by US government agencies. But what does it have to do with privacy?
JosephCorrectEnglishPronouns's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
25 views

Has any recent academic research been done on the comparative performance of FOIA response speeds by different European governments? [closed]

Recently, I took part in a large, international investigative journalistic project on dumps of oily waste water by ships. In that context, I did a FOIA request to the Dutch government. Whereas the ...
Max Muller's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
148 views

How can I obtain a NY LLC Biennial Statement?

In New York, limited liability corporations are required to file biennial reports. Are these biennial reports public documents, and if so, how can a member of the public get a copy of an LLC's ...
Cicero's user avatar
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What statute or case law provides a right to access by the defendant if represented by appointed counsel?

UPDATED BASED ON COMMENTS The public must be provided a reasonable access to all records public. Does the sealed documentation need to be unsealed even if only the defendant wants to inspect or obtain ...
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1 answer
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Are agencies required to provide an updated timeline after failing to meet FOIA deadlines?

I filed a FOIA request with the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) about 15 months ago (in April of 2020). The request was sent out to one of the agency's field offices, which automatically placed it in their &...
James Connor's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
40 views

Are B5 FOIA exemptions only allowed for communication within the government?

In the a video from Peak Prosperity the claim is made that communcation between private individuals outside of the US government and an agency withing the US government can't be legally redacted under ...
Christian's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
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FOIA request takes too long

I submitted a FOIA request to State Dept. of the United States. The FOIA request was immediately acknowledged, assigned a number and I was notified that it is being processed. This was some 180 days ...
i_prob_should_know_this's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
132 views

May NH police legally keep secret the number of bullets purchased

I asked a few questions of my government and phrased it as an open records request. I got an answer on half of them and a response on all of them. The police claim they cannot answer the question, '...
haleonj's user avatar
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3 answers
187 views

Sworn statement from Chief of Staff on President's intent:isn't that hearsay?

Trump made two tweets (here and here) which (on a surface reading) would seem to be him ordering the complete declassification of all documents related to the Russian investigation. In response, ...
Matthew Cline's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
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Can you be added to a watch list for asking?

So the federal government (and possibly state and local governments) of the United States of America keep watch lists, for criminals, terrorists, suspects, and sometimes non-criminals. I understand ...
Eliter's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
348 views

Are U.S. government agencies required to disclose whether or not they record conversations?

Let's say I'm inside a U.S. government building, which houses a government agency, and I'm speaking with an employee (or agent) of that government agency. If I directly ask them whether they are ...
Giffyguy's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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Can a California county restrict redistribution of its GIS products? (even if I FOIA the data)

Alpine County, CA makes a Parcel Map available for a certain fee. Many other counties make this data available for free but Alpine County charges some $1.3k to acquire it. This part is fine, and I ...
Roshan's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
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Do I need permission to publish a FOI response in a blog post or open letter?

I recently submitted a FOI request to my local council, and had a response. Part of the response stated the following: You are free to use this information for your own use, including for non-...
Michal Paszkiewicz's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
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Specific meaning of "or that is either" in an Arizona law

I was reading through ARS 15-1640 and it mentions (emphasis mine): A. The following records of a university under the jurisdiction of the Arizona board of regents are exempt from title 39, ...
Mark Omo's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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Does legislation around government transparency (e.g. FOIA or Sunshine ordinances) apply to public sector hiring processes?

Can Civil Service applicants be required to sign confidentiality agreements regarding the application and interview process? Can FOIA/Sunshine requests enjoin government offices to disclose present ...
jane's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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Are state marriage records publicly accessible online?

Are state marriage records publicly accessible online? Is there a database (free or subscription-only) where such information can be found?
Geremia's user avatar
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3 answers
104 views

Is this proper use of a FOIA request?

Assume someone wants to rent a townhouse but doesn't have good enough credit. So this person asks a co-signer to co-sign for the townhouse. The co-signer lives across the country so travel to the ...
mark b's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
61 views

Legal Status of Selective Service Records Regarding Conscientious Objection

What is the legal status of conscientious objector forms in the US draft? Specifically, are records regarding specific individuals' conscientious objector applications subject to FOIA, and are they ...
Jean Luc Picard's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
94 views

Are schools required to disclose accurate results of random drug searches?

I go to a school which has a serious problem with underage vape usage. The police sometimes conducts random drug searches, and after every search, parents are informed via email. Each email has ...
user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
247 views

Why does "Day 1" of the 20-day response time limit for FOIA requests begin the day AFTER agency receipt of a request?

Why does "Day 1" of the 20-day response time limit for FOIA requests begin the day AFTER [the proper component in an] agency receives a perfected request? I understand that under Rule 6 of the ...
Custom Soundtrack's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
4k views

Are search warrants public records?

Are search warrants public records? Does it matter whether an investigation ended up resulting in a prosecution? If so, does it matter whether the case goes to trial? If so, does it matter whether the ...
Dr. Mario's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
106 views

Does the freedom of information act allow for bulk data requests?

The freedom of information act in my state (Michigan) seems to be written in a way that favor's "per record" requests. However, in order to show a trend in one direction or another bulk data must be ...
b_levitt's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
130 views

Are lawsuit records publicly available?

I was a witness in a trial back in 2012, representing the plaintiff who was fired illegally. https://www.kafourymcdougal.com/a-washington-county-jury-awards-nearly-1-million-to-esd-whistleblower-2012-...
HeavenlyHarmony's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
81 views

Verification of a contract

A university has a contract with the government. Does a university need to confirm the existence of a contract when the third party asks?
user12586's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
562 views

Are lawsuit depositions public record?

Are the video files of recorded depositions for lawsuits by both the plaintiff and defendant(s) public record? and can I make a FOIA request to obtain these video files?
Rstew's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
166 views

Obtaining public records in Canada

I would like to obtain minutes of Board of Trustee meetings from a federal charity organization in Canada. I know how to do that in the U.S. How does one do it in Canada? Is this something that ...
aparente001's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
304 views

FOIA request and Commercial use - Sales Tax info

I was considering doing a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request and noticed the stipulation about putting the information gained to commercial use. That seems maybe a little broadly worded, ...
user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
136 views

PA Right to Know Law : could a person ask the local police department what records or information they have on a former resident of the town?

This specifically concerns Right to Know Law in the State of Pennsylvania Under PA Right to Know law, could a person ask the local police department what records or information they have on a former ...
Nikola Tesla's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
99 views

Can Donald Trump's Tax Returns be obtained through a Freedom of Information Request?

The IRS, which is part Federal Government clearly has copies of Donald Trump's Tax Returns. Can these be obtained through a Freedom of Information request, given the public's legitimate interest in ...
SteveS's user avatar
  • 133
2 votes
2 answers
186 views

FOIA for legal fees?

I would like to find out how much my school district is paying a private lawyer to work on a particular matter. Can I use FOIA (the Freedom of Information Act) or a similar state statute for this ...
aparente001's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
51 views

What does it take to get an "advisory opinion" out of my public access ombudsman?

According to statute, my state has a public access ombudsman who is to oversee the state's freedom of access laws. (Kind of like the FOIA at the federal level.) According to statute the ombudsman: ...
Mr. A's user avatar
  • 1,688
0 votes
1 answer
193 views

Questions disguised as FOIA requests

I was reading an opinion in HUDGINS V. I.R.S., (D.D.C. 1985) regarding the ruling that the government is not required to answer "questions disguised as FOIA requests." https://casetext.com/case/...
Mr. A's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
167 views

What is privileged against discovery?

I'm reading a "public records exception" to my state's Freedom of Access Law. One says: Public records. The term "public records" means any written, printed or graphic matter or any mechanical or ...
Mr. A's user avatar
  • 1,688
0 votes
1 answer
137 views

Does the right against self incrimination have any bearing on FOIA requests?

Does the right against self incrimination have any bearing on FOIA requests? I mean, if I request something from a government official, and the documents relate to criminal activity or theoretically ...
Mr. A's user avatar
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