By Rebecca Rotenberg and Bryan Rahija
Just last week, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) launched The FOIA Project, a new undertaking that sheds light on agency decisions to withhold information requested under the Freedom of Information Act.
The Project serves as a database of instances in which an agency’s decision to withhold government information became the subject of a lawsuit under FOIA. Users can find dockets, complaints and other court documents, and can search for cases by district, plaintiff, and defendant.
There’s also a nifty mapping feature showing the geographic distribution and duration of cases across the country. And more fun features are on the way: TRAC writes that it will soon invite the public to nominate and vote on egregious examples of improper withholding for induction into the “FOIA Hall of Shame.”
In the end, the Project's creators hope that, as stated on The FOIA Project's website, “Full documentation of each instance of improper withholding will force bureaucrats to publicly justify their unjustifiable decisions.”
Overall, this looks like it will prove to be a fantastic resource.
Full disclosure: TRAC's office is just down the hall from POGO, and TRAC co-director David Burnham is a member of POGO's board.