Blog Posts

    Coalition Offers New Community Training on Police Records

    September 27, 2023, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The D.C.Open Government Coalition is continuing its series of community conversations, offered in tandem with the D.C. Public Libraries, to exchange experiences of community members in getting information from the D.C. government and offer tools and tips on how to get all kinds of records that the city is obligated to share with the public. […]

    Successful Lawsuits Challenging High Fee Demands for Public Records Break New Ground

    September 16, 2023, by Fritz Mulhauser

    Two recent court cases decided in favor of challengers facing high fee demands from government agencies break new ground in public records access laws—known in federal, D.C., and many state laws as Freedom of Information Acts (FOIA). FOIA laws typically allow charging requesters for costs but also allow waiving fees if the request is not […]

    Freedom Forum Invites All to Celebrate First Amendment Freedoms

    September 1, 2023, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The D.C. Open Government Coalition and friends will be sampling the creative events to be offered by the Freedom Forum at its “1A Fest,” Saturday, Sept. 9, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. at The Wharf – Transit Pier (9th St. and Maine Ave., S.W.), Washington, D.C. RSVP here. From the Forum At Freedom Forum’s 1A […]

    New FOIA Lawsuit Challenges $862,000 Bill for Electronic Police Records Already Required to Be Public And A Broken Appeal System

    August 24, 2023, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., by law, must keep a record of all arrests, stops, and other police-involved incidents and the records “shall be open to public inspection when not in actual use.”  (No public records request needed and no exemptions and redactions.) Originally kept by pen and ink in an “arrest book” […]

    Censorship Proposal Opposed by Coalition Fails in U.S. Senate

    July 28, 2023, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The D.C. Open Government Coalition and over 50 other groups joined a July 19 letter to the U.S. Senate expressing opposition to a censorship proposal offered by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) as an amendment to the FY24 National Defense Authorization Act (bill S. 2226). This and almost 1,000 other amendments proposed […]

    Good News on Reduced Backlog of D.C. FOIA Appeals; Broader Performance Improvement Is A Work in Progress

    July 2, 2023, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The tsunami of backlogged FOIA appeals—challenges to D.C. agencies’ public records request delays and denials—may have crested, with only 39 unresolved cases reported to the D.C. Council as of June 2, a figure far below the 307 at last year’s oversight hearing, 237 in an official report in September and 108 at this year’s oversight. […]

    Coalition Welcomes Niquelle Allen Reappointment As D.C. Director of Open Government

    June 23, 2023, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The Board of Ethics and Government Accountability (BEGA) has reappointed Niquelle M. Allen as Director of Open Government, voting unanimously to do so at its June 8, 2023, meeting. In her second term which begins July 2, 2023, Allen will continue to direct the Office of Open Government, a six-person unit established in 2012 that […]

    Open Government Progress in D.C. Council FY24 Budget

    June 21, 2023, by Fritz Mulhauser

    Next year’s District of Columbia budget includes some dedicated funding and lots of advice to agencies for improved public access to government data and records, much of it resulting from the community and Open Government Coalition testimony and recommendations, according to legislative committees’ budget reports. Budgeting is complete with final votes last Tuesday (13). For […]

    How Much Email to Keep? Six-Month Destruction Frustrates Transit IG – And Echoes Similar Plan Nixed Years Ago in D.C.

    May 23, 2023, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The Inspector General of Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the local transit agency, can’t investigate thoroughly because of a blanket internal policy of discarding all emails older than six months, according to statements of a deputy director, James S. Smith, reported Saturday (20) by Justin George in the Washington Post.  That agency policy, George wrote, […]

    Open Government Coalition Training Sessions Scheduled on “Digging Into D.C.”

    May 22, 2023, by Fritz Mulhauser

    Have questions about how to get records from the D.C. government? Getting into public meetings you thought were supposed to be open? Join the D.C. Open Government Coalition, a group of volunteer watchdogs, for “Digging into D.C.,” a series of community conversations on finding D.C. government information via records and meetings. In collaboration with the […]