By: E&P Staff
GateHouse News Service coordinated a national project to coincide with Sunshine Week, which began yesterday.
Dozens of GateHouse newspapers nationwide contributed to the project by requesting cell-phone records from public officials in their towns. Also, 50 states and 50 federal agencies were sent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. So the project involved three levels of government.
A package of stories summarized the audit with a breakout of some of the high points and low points. For instance, one town wouldn’t release cell-phone records of a police chief, citing law-enforcement and privacy concerns.
GateHouse said Illinois’ attorney general, who has championed the cause of open government and FOIA reform, was late nearly half the time in responding to FOIA requests. One late response was to a request for information on movers from someone who wanted to make sure she hired an honest company. By the time she got a response, she had already moved.
For the project, the news service offered GateHouse papers information on writing FOIA letters.