Public records obtained from D.C. agencies under the local Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) have again in recent months been useful for those trying to understand and improve our government. Read on as we run down how FOIA requests have played a part in a new lawsuit asking the court to enforce a Council mandate that police record data on street stops, helped pierce a secrecy veil around the mayor's offer to lure the Amazon "HQ2" project, uncovered charter schools' dealings with a favored contractor, and enabled a rapid injunction from a federal judge requring DC to quickly correct longstanding delays in processing food stamp renewals that poor citizens rely on. The law matters, and this recap shows why.
Only a few days remain until a final D.C. Council vote in early June that could strip the Office of Open Government of its role as independent watchdog over open meetings, public records requests and government transparency generally. Will the D.C. Attorney General or the Inspector General respond to calls for review of related actions already taken that contradict the law? Details here on the requests by the D.C. Open Government Coalition.