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New member benefit will provide free access to FOIAengine

Starting this spring, IRE professional members will get free access to FOIAengine, a database for researching FOIA requests. The tool, created last year by PoliScio Analytics, contains more than 170,000 FOIA request records from 2021 to the present.

PoliScio co-founders Randy Miller, an attorney, and John Jenkins, a journalist, created FOIAengine in part to replace the public record request database on, which the federal government maintained until shutting it down in October 2023.

Like the FOIAonline database, FOIAengine provides data about the record requests only, not the results of the requests. The new tool has more robust searching capabilities, and standardizes data from different agencies to make it easier to work with. You can search and filter records by the agency the request was submitted to, the requester's organization and type (news media, law firm, financial institution, etc.), the requester’s name, date and the text of the request. You can also copy or export 100 records at a time to analyze in other tools.

Jenkins points out that journalists are not the only ones using FOIA. Knowing who is asking for what information can mean that something of interest is going on – or is about to.

“It’s a set of signals,” he said. “Nobody does this for the hell of it. They always have an agenda.”

The PoliScio team is exhibiting at the NICAR Conference in Baltimore this week, offering demonstrations of FOIAengine. You can also see examples of stories that came from FOIAengine research on the PoliScio website and Law Street Media.

Free access to FOIAengine will be available only to professional members of IRE. Details on how to request an account will be coming soon.

Learn more about becoming a member of IRE and member benefits.

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