Corrupt behavior most often occurs in secrecy, behind closed doors. Therefore, the most effective way to prevent government corruption is to make the activities of public officials transparent to the American people. Federal open records laws, such as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), provide access to government documents and public records. State “sunshine” laws also provide the means by which the public can gain access to government documents and scrutinize the behavior of public officials. The following links will help educate you about how to combat government secrecy.
- Judicial Watch FOIA Handbook – updated October 2013
- The Freedom of Information Act – text of the FOIA (showing changes made by the OPEN Government Act of 2007)
- The Privacy Act – text of the Privacy Act
- Department of Justice Guide to the Freedom of Information Act
- A Citizen’s Guide to the Freedom of Information Act – The House Committee on Government Reform Guide to requesting government records. The Guide, House Report 109-226, was published in September 2005.
- The Freedom of Information Act: What the Government Doesn’t Want You to Know, and How You Can Find Out – Slides from a Judicial Watch presentation discussing the Freedom of Information Act at CPAC 2009. Also in PowerPoint format.
Organizations with FOIA Document websites
We Can Help You
Judicial Watch is the preeminent public interest group specializing in government open records research and litigation. Because of this, Judicial Watch launched the “Open Records Project” to share its expertise by providing technical, research, and litigation assistance to conservative non-profit public interest groups that may not have the experience or resources to obtain critical information about government activity.
We can help in any step of the process:
- Determining what agencies have the information needed
- Defining requirements and composing document request strategy
- Making the request
- Reviewing information and providing analysis of document production
- Handling denials, exemptions and the appeal process
- Managing the court process
- Getting the information into the hands of the general public and raising media awareness
For more information, please call (202) 646-5172, or send an email. Meanwhile, use the following links to learn more about open record laws and filing open record requests.