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Find 600 stories using the federal FOIA by clicking the map, or browse the entire collection.2011-06-29
The FOIA Files: Stories that FOIA Made Possible
Countless media outlets, government watchdog groups and individual Americans have used the federal Freedom of Information Act to obtain important information on how -- and how well -- their government operates, knowledge that is crucial to a well-functioning democracy.
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NOTE: We indicate a story involves a delay, denial, lawsuit, or fee issue only if the story indicates as much. Few stories do report challenges to obtaining records, although such obstacles to obtaining information through FOIA are common.
Turn in Your Best Use of FOIA!
If you know of a good story that relied on FOIA and is not in our FOIA Files, drop us a line!2007-07-03
Recent entries in the FOIA Files reinforce FOIA's important role keeping the public informed about significant stories. For years EPA encouraged recycling tires to line playgrounds, but the agency is considering whether the tire pieces expose kids to carcinogens, the AP reported (#432). 2009-09-16
While there are many problems with FOIA today, ProPublica describes a typical FOIA dispute. A FOIA request comes in for a particular document, in this case information about a contract to build a website (recovery.gov) to track federal Recovery Act spending. The agency releases information with significant redactions:
[Image credit: ProPublica]
The requester appeals, thinking some of the information shouldn't be hidden behind the black pen. While this case is still pending, it's an interesting case example of a FOIA dispute. Hopefully the new Office of Government Information Services (website pending) can help resolve some of these problems.2009-09-18
Nearly half of the bridges owned by Amtrak in the Philadelphia area are rated poor or worse, declares the Philadelphia Inquirer, which based its article on inspection reports that Amtrak would disclose only when the paper drafted a lawsuit under the federal Freedom of Information Act.
The FOIA-based reporting spurred Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter to push for more funding for repairs.2009-09-23