Transparency Watch : October 2012

Seeking communications between the White House and Department of Labor

Transparency Watch is an occasional series from IRE tracking the fight for open records. If you have a story about a quest for public records you'd like to share, email us at web@ire.org.

This past summer, I reported for The Oregonian on the issue of child labor on farms, specifically the health and safety risks of such work and the existing protections.

A big part of the story was the fact that the U.S. Department of Labor killed its own proposed regulations that sought for the first time in 40 years to offer tighter restrictions for ...

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State of New Jersey sues itself over release of records

Mark Lagerkvist of New Jersey Watchdog reports that the State of New Jersey is suing itself over a possible release of records to the website.

Lagerkvist reports that on Oct. 15, the state attorney general filed a motion seeking to stop the state Government Records Council from reviewing files, which on Aug. 31 had ordered state pension officials to turn over 26 records for inspection, to determine if any of those records should be released to New Jersey Watchdog.

The records relate to an alleged $245,000 pension scheme involving Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, which New Jersey watchdog first reported ...

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Transparency Watch: What journalists need to know about FOIAonline

Federal agencies have launched FOIAonline, a tool that journalists can use to file, track and appeal requests for documents and data under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. Here's what you need to know about the service, which was announced just last week.

Not all federal agencies are participating. Here's who's on board:

  • Department of Commerce, minus the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Federal Labor Relations Authority
  • Merit Systems Protection Board
  • National Archives and Records Administration

You can search for other FOIA requests. This search for "pollution" turns up 31 results.

You ...

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Transparency Watch: FOIA requests getting outsourced

In a follow-up to its story on the failure's of Obama administration agencies to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests, Bloomberg News reports that at least 25 percent of FOIA requests are outsourced to contractors

"Since fiscal 2009, the year President Barack Obama took office, spending on FOIA-related contracts has jumped about 40 percent, leaving transparency advocates wondering who’s making the decisions on whether records should be kept secret."

Previously, Bloomberg had found that 19 of 20 cabinet-level agencies disobeyed the law and just eight of the 57 federal agencies met the 20-day window required by the ...

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Bloomberg reporters find FOIA failures in Obama administration

Transparency Watch is an occasional series from IRE tracking the fight for open records. If you have a story about a quest for public records you'd like to share, email us at web@ire.org.

By Danielle Ivory, Bloomberg

President Barack Obama on his first full day in office ordered federal officials to “usher in a new era of open government” and “act promptly” to make information public.

Bloomberg News in June set out to test out that promise of openness. Transparency is a core value of the company and our news coverage, which is why, for example, we ...

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