Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #SunshineWeek

Most recents (24)

The @WhiteHouse posted something to /Disclosures: a link to financial disclosures…
No ethics waivers yet. (Best not to grant them at all, IMO.)
Like @ObamaWhiteHouse & @whitehouse46, public must request access to disclosures.
Still no /opengov
#SunshineWeek ImageImage
If @WHCOS @WHCommsDir are listening, I'd suggest editing menu down to /Disclosures, where Americans would assume @WhiteHouse visitor logs will be, & welcome any answers they @POTUS +@VP have to the coalition's questions on #opengov… Image
This would be a good day for @OMBPress to tweet a link to its FOIA page:…
Ditto @WHOSTP…
The Executive Office of the President is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, but @WhiteHouse can & should celebrate it.
Read 5 tweets
It’s #SunshineWeek, a week that celebrates & promotes access to information and open government nationwide.

This #FOIAFriday, we’re highlighting the power of #FOIA with a thread about its past, present, and future.
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed FOIA into law on July 4, 1966. Records show LBJ personally removed strong language supporting open government from the press statement. He only agreed to sign it after DOJ suggested he include a signing statement.…
In his signing statement, LBJ praised the importance of openness to democracy and said the legislation affirmed American principles. But he also wrote that he felt some documents shouldn’t be available to the public.…
Read 16 tweets
Now listening to the 2021 DC #OpenGov Summit.…
In past years, the annual #SunshineWeek event was at @PressClubDC. The wifi is (much) better at home, but I miss seeing people. Thanks to @DCOGC for putting this together!
To lead off, @GingerMcCall asked @CouncilOfDC Members @chenderson & @CMBrookePinto why #opengov is important.

Henderson it's not just posting info online, but helping people to understand & engage, helping govt to be more responsive.
#OpenGov is fundamental to everything we do, said @CMBrookePinto, who was at the Office of @AGKarlRacine, including we're doing, why, & what our processes are as we go.

Pinto also said residents should be educated about how to make FOIA requests. cc @CouncilOfDC @DCOPENGOV
Read 11 tweets
In honor #SunshineWeek, we think this is the perfect time to highlight some of @BuzzFeedNews’ biggest #FOIA wins!
Our reporters have seen firsthand the importance of government transparency and accountability through the Freedom of Information Act. We filed 58 #FOIA lawsuits during Trump's presidency — more than any other media organization in the U.S.…
This includes revealing summaries of FBI interviews with key White House officials from former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. More interviews would be revealed by the #MuellerMemos through 2020.…
Read 11 tweets
It’s #SunshineWeek, so it’s a good time to talk about how the #ForThePeopleAct (#HR1 / #S1) will increase transparency in our politics, government, and campaigns.

Here is a 🧵 on the at least 30 ways this bill increases our right to know what is going on in our government.
1) The #ForThePeopleAct guarantees online voter registration. How does that increase transparency? Well, not only does it allow voters to securely register to vote online, but it gives them more access to info about how to update their registration when they move. #SunshineWeek
2) The #ForThePeopleAct would also require a creation of a program where voters can track the status of the #VoteByMail ballot online and get confirmation when it has been received by your local election official. #SunshineWeek
Read 32 tweets
A vital tool for the preservation of a democratic government is the Freedom of Information Act. As the abuses of the Trump administration have made clear, FOIA contains significant weaknesses. This #SunshineWeek, we outline 7 reforms to improve transparency and accountability.
1. Require adequate resources for responding to FOIA requests. Many of the problems with modern FOIA backlogs are a question of supply and demand: There are too many requests for agencies to satisfy with too few resources.…
The statute requires that agencies respond to requests within 20 working days, but in practice, the deadline is meaningless. Agencies rarely come close to meeting it, and many don’t produce records for years.…
Read 25 tweets
It's frustrating to see an administration @POTUS committed to "truth & transparency" revert to the practice of "senior administration officials" talking with the press.

Why wasn't this briefing on the record during #SunshineWeek, @StateDeptSpox @PressSec?…
Per @NBCNews, the Biden administration is restricting info @CBP staff share with media in an unofficial gag order & denying "ride-a-longs," & US officials aren't going on the record *during #SunshineWeek*…
@cbptroymiller should host a press conference.
“Senior Administration Officials Preview of National Security Advisor @JakeSullivan46 & @SecBlinken’s Trip to Anchorage, Alaska”…
@StateDept attributes journalists by name in transcripts, but not US officials. That’s not leading by example.
Read 4 tweets
Could @VP @AmbRice46 @SamanthaJPower @SpeakerPelosi @SenWarren lead efforts to co-create commitments on anti-corruption with the American people in 2021?…
(Enacting laws >> voluntary commitments, but the latter could drive progress.)
#SunshineWeek #OpenGov
It seems inconceivable a @POTUS wouldn't join Merkel, @JustinTrudeau @EmmanuelMacron & other world leaders in a global #opengov partnership the USA founded, under @POTUS44:

…but this @WhiteHouse still hasn't celebrated #SunshineWeek or responded to Q's.
12 years ago, @ObamaWhiteHouse began trying to engage Americans with Change .gov, an @OpenGov44 Initiative, @WeThePeople44, @ChallengeGov, & 3 national #opengov plans for @OpenGovPart.
Record on FOIA + transparency was *mixed*:… but intent & action mattered
Read 4 tweets
Declassified version of US intelligence report presented to @POTUS45, US officials, Congressional leadership & intel committees on January 7, 2020:…
When will @ODNIgov release the 2020 & 2021 worldwide threat assessment, @POTUS? cc @PressSec
#SunshineWeek Image
Key Judgement 1: US intelligence community (IC) had no indications any foreign actors tried to alter any technical aspects of the voting process in the 2020 election.

(@POTUS45's lies to the contrary have cost taxpayers ~$519M… & our union much, much more) Image
2: IC assesses Putin authorized & Russia conducted influence ops aimed at denigrating @POTUS @JoeBiden's candidacy, supporting @POTUS45, undermining public confidence, & exacerbating division.
Key part of strategy: using proxies to push lies & misinfo

(I assess they succeeded.) Image
Read 5 tweets
It’s #SunshineWeek and the annual Foilies are out. The Foilies “name-and-shame” government agencies and officials who have been obstacles to transparency and public access to information.…
This year’s Foilies highlighted two sets of FOIA requests we made. The “The Juking the FOIA Stats Award” went to the CDC based on our lawsuit. The CDC had been systematically rejecting FOIA requests by claiming they are overly broad or burdensome.
Then, the CDC categorized those “overbroad” requests as “withdrawn,” and closed the file without releasing any records. Between 2016 and 2019, CDC closed between 21 to 31 percent of FOIA requests it received as “withdrawn.”
Read 10 tweets
#SunshineWeek document SCOOP/THREAD: Our @BuzzFeedNews members got a first look at these records I requested last May but now I'm sharing w/everyone

Here are all of Richard Grenell's emails from his brief stint as acting DNI

In some ways, Grenell’s emails are an extension of his Twitter persona and showcase his spats with reporters

He refers to @ZcohenCNN as a "drama queen," demands to speak to @JonathanLanday's editor regarding an accurate story he wrote that he said was "outrageously slanted"
One email sent to Grenell shows an official in his office lamented their inability to “shape the narrative” in a @julianbarnes @adamgoldmanNYT @npfandos story about Grenell’s plans for ODNI, to which he responded, “Washington is highly toxic these days.” 

Read 18 tweets
THREAD: Last fall, I reported a series of stories with @QuintonChand about mental health and policing that made use of several records obtained through #FOI requests. We spent nearly a year reporting and examining records. Here’s more about how we did it. #sunshineweek 1/
@QuintonChand But first, I think it's important that you understand why we invested so much time and energy in this work: People in crisis are dying at the hands of police. 2/
@QuintonChand Bennie Edwards, Dustin Pigeon and Isaiah Lewis were fatally shot by police in Oklahoma. All of them were in crisis and all of them were killed by officers who had not been trained in crisis intervention, which is specialized mental health training. And they are not alone. 3/
Read 11 tweets
Today is the first day of #SunshineWeek, a week that celebrates and promotes access to information and open government nationwide.

To kick things off, we want to explain exactly what the Freedom of Information Act is and why it is such a powerful transparency tool. #FOIA
The Freedom of Information Act was signed into law by President Johnson in 1966. FOIA is a law that gives anyone the right to request federal records from agencies in the executive branch.
Yes, anyone can file a FOIA request! Many journalists, scholars, watchdog organizations, and more use FOIA requests to research what goes on behind the scenes in governing. You can request records such as emails, text messages, paper documents, videos, and more.
Read 19 tweets
For over 2 years, people were forced to wait in Mexico for court hearings as part of the Migrant Protection Protocols. The result has been catastrophic. As MPP winds down, we need a full account of the program.
We pursued multiple Freedom of Information Act requests with partners @AILANational and @hrw and obtained over 1,000 pages of government records. #SunshineWeek
The records we obtained through FOIA revealed details on Electronic Nationality Verification, a little-known program DHS uses to speed up some deportations. These kind of fast-track procedures raise many concerns. #SunshineWeek
Read 3 tweets
In honor of @SunshineWeek, we’re extending our #FOIA fundraising efforts! #SunshineWeek is an initiative led by @NewsLeaders, in partnership with other media and civic organizations, to promote access to information and open government.
Now through March 22, every BuzzFeed News Membership sign up or one-time contribution will go towards our FOIA legal fund.
When you contribute, you’ll become a BuzzFeed News member and receive special member-only emails, including an inside look when we publish the next major #FOIA scoop.

And most importantly, you'll help keep the government transparent.
Read 4 tweets
It's still #SunshineWeek, right? @LJSpilger, @editorontherun & I started this reporting project in early Jan., before coronavirus, the Legislature, a murder trial and pneumonia all got in the way. Really proud to get it out the door.…
After the law changed in 2016 to allow for greater public access to grand jury transcripts and evidence, we asked the question: How are counties interpreting the new law?

Answer: Depends on where you are. Image
This access and transparency gives the public greater detail about high-profile events like last fall's bizarre scene at Chik-fil-A, where Joseph Cimino was shot and killed by an officer after driving his truck into the building.…
Read 5 tweets
Today, we’re launching Who Has Your Face—a short quiz you can take to get a comprehensive look into how states and government agencies share your photo for facial recognition purposes, without your knowledge or consent. #SunshineWeek
With the help of @GeorgetownCPT, we reviewed thousands of pages of public records to determine as clearly as possible what government photos of U.S. citizens, residents, and travelers are shared with which agencies for facial recognition purposes.…
Two-thirds of the population of the U.S. is likely in a facial recognition database run by a state, and over half the states share photos with federal agents. Learn which states ban facial recognition, and which states put you at risk:
Read 4 tweets
#Coronavirus is sweeping the nation, and every state is responding with its own algorithms for who should get tested. So how do they differ?…
We want to find out. The Markup is filing public records requests with health officials in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., to see how these algorithms for #coronavirus testing differ from state to state, and why. #sunshineweek…
We’ve already gotten results: Oregon officials provided a March 11 “provisional” guidance memo for #coronavirus testing in response to our request.… Image
Read 5 tweets
EFF has once again teamed up with @AltWeeklies to publish "The Foilies" during #SunshineWeek throughout the country.

Support your local news during these hard times by reading their versions of our annual collections of freedom of information horror stories 1/ The cover of the Colorado S...The cover of the Athens Geo...The centerfold image of the...
Hey there Colorado Springs! The @csindependent put The Foilies on the cover and you can swipe through the whole issue online. 2/…
You know who cares about transparency? Idahoans! Check out The Foilies in this week's issue of @Inland360, available online here 3/…
Read 6 tweets
Thread: It's #SunshineWeek, and a top DOJ official recently complained about requesters who ask courts to enforce the public's legal rights under FOIA when agencies fail to meet their legal transparency obligations. 1/
But the real problem is that some federal agencies woefully underfund their FOIA operations. Rather than treat their legal obligations under FOIA as primary responsibilities, they instead act as though FOIA creates burdensome work to be placed on the back burner. 2/
Consequently, agencies have growing backlogs of FOIA requests waiting for a response, but they often don’t allocate more resources to address that problem.

Whether by accident or by intentional design, backlogs thwart meaningful accountability for current officials. 3/
Read 12 tweets
Hey MD lawmakers and @GovLarryHogan: Remember how the @mtamaryland refused a series of extremely reasonable requests for me to (not even share but) review footage (or still)s from Mondawmin during the unrest? It's #SunshineWeek - care to revisit the issue?…
.@mtamaryland's reason for not releasing footage is that doing so would divulge its cameras' locations & how they pan & zoom. That's despite:

1. many of the cameras already being in CLEAR view;

2. my agreeing to not release the footage;

3. my agreeing to even just view stills.
The above reason only came after I came up with solutions to all their previous concerns, or reasons why they no longer applied years later. Basically, the agency kept finding new reasons to refuse my request, until they just dug in on the one above even though it makes no sense.
Read 8 tweets
Today, in a hearing dedicated to the Freedom of Information Act and transparency, Rep. Jim Jordan decided to use his time to attack American Oversight for our work investigating the Trump administration’s misconduct.
Jordan bizarrely quoted from our website, describing our Parallel Investigations Initiative — in which we file FOIAs to ensure that the Trump administration can’t obstruct oversight requests from Congress — as harassment.…
Demanding transparency from our government is not harassment — it’s accountability. And during the first two years of President Trump’s term, while Congress sat on the sidelines, FOIA was often the only way to hold our leaders accountable.…
Read 6 tweets
Thread: The Trump administration set a new record for censoring, withholding or saying it couldn’t find government records sought by citizens, journalists and others, according to newly released figures covering the first full year under his presidency. #sunshineweek #foia
Its measured performance under the Freedom of Information Act is the worst in more than a decade.
In 22 percent of 823,222 requests, the Trump administration said it simply couldn't find the records we asked for. The previous high of 20 percent came the previous fiscal year, which covered the first eight months of Trump's presidency.
Read 14 tweets
The Foilies are here! For the fifth #SunshineWeek in a row, we’re recognizing the agencies and officials who went that extra mile to stand in the way of government transparency. Here are just a few of our 17 award winners.…
The winner of our “Scanner Darkly” Award: St. Joseph County Superior Court, who sent ProPublica reporter @JessicaHuseman a scanned collection of files related to the child welfare system, including this scanned image of a CD-ROM—and not its contents.… A scanned image of a CD-ROM
Our “Intern Art Project” award: in response to a FOIA request, the Vermont governor’s office had 5 interns work six hours each to cut and paste emails from printed copies—instead of, you know, exporting the data using a computer.… A drawing of a woman with scissors and glue
Read 4 tweets

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