Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #SunshineWeek

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It’s #SunshineWeek, a week that celebrates and 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.
nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/…
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.
nsarchive2.gwu.edu//nsa/foia/FOIA…
Read 13 tweets
As #SunshineWeek winds down, just a quick thread about a pretty awesome tradition here in North Carolina.

For 8 years now, we've brought together a coalition of journalists from across the state interested in telling stories to promote open government and transparency.
It started in 2015, when we examined a year's worth of travel records from the state's top leaders, combining the forces of @wral, @newsobserver, @theobserver, @SpecNews1RDU, @fayobserver & @wectnews. wral.com/records-show-b…

wral.com/governor-s-off…
In 2016, @wral, @ap, @newsobserver, @theobserver, @SpecNews1RDU and @wectnews teamed up to probe state and local officials' use of private email to conduct public business (anyone remember Nick Danger?). wral.com/private-email-…
Read 15 tweets
#SunshineWeek 🧵on e-carceration, profiteering, and how long ICE has known about allegations and criminal convictions of its largest (and often, only) gps ankle shackle contractor, courtesy of DHS-OIG #FOIA
1/
Since Congress started funding “Alternatives to Detention” for migrants in the US, in the mid-2000s, ICE has received allegations of serious criminal misconduct by this contractor’s personnel. documentcloud.org/documents/2141… / 2
Allegations like this one in Miami dating back to 2007. 3/ Screenshot of April 13, 2010 Memo from DHS-OIG to ICE-OPR reScreenshot Cover page of DHS-OIG Report of Investigation on
Read 15 tweets
Our outlet asked @ChathamCoSch questions about the 'Slave Auction' incident the district refuses to answer, instead saying "What we have posted on the website is our statement."
We've also asked for emails/records which are so far also being denied.
#nced #ncpol #SunshineWeek
Questions asked:
Was this 'mock auction' was part of a classroom demonstration or lesson? How many students involved?
Where the staff/teachers were during this 'mock slave auction'?
Why has the district failed to explain the circumstances surrounding this incident?
/more
Also asked:
When was the incident first reported to the school?

Related to that question, we also asked for copies of any emails or communications involved in reporting this incident.
The district has not yet responded if they will be denying this records req.
Read 5 tweets
In honor of #SunshineWeek, the #DetentionKills Transparency Initiative
is releasing these recently obtained DHS-OIG offered these records of alleged misconduct and abuse by DHS contractors. You probably don’t have time to read all 547 pages. So we did. 🧵 documentcloud.org/documents/2141…
On page 3, OIG documents receiving a complaint in 2006 regarding the allegations in the litigation LeTisha Tapia’s family brought against $GEO.

Those allegations are shocking, but unsurprising.
@POGOwatchdog’s contractor database has more: contractormisconduct.org/misconduct/256…
2/x
OIG appears to have referred the allegations to ICE in early February 2007 and closed the file. Wonder how ICE responded 🤔
In the years that followed, at least three senior ICE officials who would have received this complaint from OIG went on to join $GEO’s board or C-Suite.
3/x
Read 15 tweets
A historical note from AOTUS @dferriero: Before FDR signed a law creating @USNatArchives in 1934, @librarycongress held some public records & others were scattered across our union.

(In 2022, many records are digital & online: archives.gov/foia/january-6…)

#SunshineWeek #OpenGov
@dferriero @USNatArchives @librarycongress AOTUS: That's the plan, to digitize everything, but we won't see it in our lifetimes.
Most info generated today has no paper equivalent: it's born digital.
What we're talking about is digitizing our history.
Cf @USNatArchives strategic plan: archives.gov/about/plans-re… #SunshineWeek
AOTUS: All of the #JFKFiles are not disclosed yet, but NARA is working on it: politico.com/news/2021/12/1…

If @POTUS invested more time & $$ in declassification, maybe @USNatArchives could hit a 2023 goal?
#SunshineWeek #OpenGov
Read 8 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 Image
The Freedom of Information Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966. FOIA is a law that gives anyone the right to request 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 government. You can request records such as emails, text messages, paper documents, videos, and more.
Read 18 tweets
It’s #SunshineWeek! Throughout the week, we will talk about #FOIA and transparency.

We also want to highlight what other transparency organizations are doing this week. Here’s a few events we’re excited about.
Today, @NARA will host a conversation about the importance of open government between Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero and Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden.
Tuesday at 1 PM ET, @POGOwatchdog is hosting a #SunshineWeek Twitter Spaces discussion about #FOIA and whistleblowers. We’ll be joining moderator @Melissa_Wasser for a great conversation.
Read 5 tweets
The @WhiteHouse posted something to /Disclosures: a link to financial disclosures
whitehouse.gov/disclosures/fi…
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 wh.gov 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 governing.digital/letters/letter… Image
This would be a good day for @OMBPress to tweet a link to its FOIA page: whitehouse.gov/omb/freedom-of…
Ditto @WHOSTP whitehouse.gov/ostp/legal/WHO…
The Executive Office of the President is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, but @WhiteHouse can & should celebrate it.
#SunshineWeek
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.
nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/…
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.
nsarchive2.gwu.edu//nsa/foia/FOIA…
Read 16 tweets
Now listening to the 2021 DC #OpenGov Summit. dcogc.org/blog/2021-open…
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.

buzzfeednews.com/article/jasonl…
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.

buzzfeednews.com/collection/the…
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.
foiaproject.org/2019/12/15/foi…
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.
americanoversight.org/seven-reforms-…
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? whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/…
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* nbcnews.com/politics/immig…
@cbptroymiller should host a press conference.
“Senior Administration Officials Preview of National Security Advisor @JakeSullivan46 & @SecBlinken’s Trip to Anchorage, Alaska”
state.gov/senior-adminis…
@StateDept attributes journalists by name in transcripts, but not US officials. That’s not leading by example.
#SunshineWeek
Read 4 tweets
Could @VP @AmbRice46 @SamanthaJPower @SpeakerPelosi @SenWarren lead efforts to co-create commitments on anti-corruption with the American people in 2021?
opengovpartnership.org/members/united…
(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*: sunlightfoundation.com/2016/09/02/how… 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:
odni.gov/files/ODNI/doc…
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 washingtonpost.com/politics/inter… & 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.
eff.org/deeplinks/2021…
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

1/
link.buzzfeed.com/view/5ba888503…
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"
2/
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.” 

3/
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 bit.ly/3eFDUAX
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 bit.ly/3vslklL
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.

support.buzzfeednews.com
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.

support.buzzfeednews.com
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. journalstar.com/news/local/cri…
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. journalstar.com/news/local/cri…
Read 5 tweets

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