Blog Posts

    Online Access to Some Files Opens at D.C. Court of Appeals

    August 3, 2022, by Fritz Mulhauser

    Court briefs and orders in appeals of some civil cases are now available online, according to an announcement from the D.C. Court of Appeals posted July 29. The brief announcement gave no details such as how to use the new feature. (TM; DR: hints for users: As typical with court records online, access is to […]

    Coalitions Call for WMATA to Make Rules in the Sunshine for Police Body-Cam Video

    July 15, 2022, by Fritz Mulhauser

    UPDATE 7-18-22: D.C. Council member Charles Allen has asked Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Anzallo to provide a copy of completed procedures for new body-worn cameras. Allen specifically mentioned setting “clear standards for determining when footage should be reviewed and released to the public” and asked the chief to “provide members of the public – […]

    Metro Transit Police To Get Body Cameras Next Year: But Will the Video Be Available?

    July 3, 2022, by Fritz Mulhauser

    Cash-strapped Washington Metro Area Transit Administration (WMATA) has a $905,000 gift from Uncle Sam to outfit 450 transit police with body-worn cameras beginning in 2023, according to Department of Justice and WMATA releases last week (28). Public concern and victims’ lawsuits, as well as new oversight of Metro Transit Police, have been fueled in recent […]

    Coalition to D.C. Council: New CFO Will Face Challenges Including Transparency

    June 28, 2022, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The D.C Open Government Coalition warned the D.C. Council recently (16) that the nominee for the post of District chief financial officer, Glen M. Lee, has work to do if he’s confirmed. D.C. finances are uncertain (until people return to work downtown) and also public access to CFO information is too difficult, specifically: information to […]

    Coalition Successes in Council Advocacy: D.C. Fiscal 2023 Budget Plans Can Strengthen Open Government 

    May 11, 2022, by Fritz Mulhauser

    Open Government Coalition recommendations led to funding and other specific directions to D.C. agencies, including for new plans to deal with 21st century issues of access and archiving of digital records, according to D.C. legislative committees’ budget reports voted on in late April. Several recommendations directed activity to be done with community partners including the […]

    D.C. Agencies’ FOIA Request Backlog Huge for Second Year

    April 22, 2022, by Fritz Mulhauser

    D.C. agencies ended 2021 with over 3,000 unanswered requests for records, according to the mayor’s annual FOIA processing report released in March. Coalition analysis of the last five years of such reports shows 2021 was the second year of such high numbers left unanswered, even as the total request volume is trending down. With many […]

    Coalition’s Budget Testimonies Cap Council Hearings Season  

    April 12, 2022, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The D.C. Open Government Coalition has asked the D.C. Council for six investments to build transparency:   Fund improvements in Advisory Neighborhood Commissions’ records management and FOIA response Fund surge staff to clean up backlog of over 300 FOIA appeals Fund tech infrastructure for digital records management so agencies can find FOIA-requested items and comply […]

    Council Hearing Shows Executive Resistance to Open Government (And the Law)

    April 1, 2022, by Fritz Mulhauser

    A deputy mayor repeatedly declined to provide, or even describe, agency budget requests that didn’t make it into the mayor’s budget, under questioning by the D.C. Council Chairman Wednesday (30), though the law for years has required those to be shared with the Council and published and a recent court decision upheld the law. Video […]

    Community Messages Get Through: OAH Chief Judge Promises Plans Soon for Publishing Opinions

    March 27, 2022, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The chief judge of the D.C. Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) told the D.C. Council Friday (25) that she will provide a timeline soon for publishing the decisions of the office’s three-dozen administrative law judges. The office issued almost 9,000 decisions in Fiscal Year 2021 on challenges to D.C. agencies’ alleged errors ranging from multi-million-dollar […]

    Coalition Puts D.C. FOIA Issues At Center Stage in More Oversight Testimonies: Dysfunctional Request Portal, Massive Delays in Deciding Appeals, and Overall Inattention to Enforcing the Law  

    March 21, 2022, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The Open Government Coalition testified three more times as Council committees completed 56 hearings totaling over 320 hours in January and February reviewing agency performance during the second pandemic year, 2020-21. Reports on earlier testimonies this year can be read here (on lack of transparency in Advisory Neighborhood Commissions) and here (on ill-advised proposals for […]