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Federal Open Government Guide 10th Edition

Federal Open Government Guide 10th Edition

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FEDERALOPENGOVERNMENTGUIDE
10th Edition
 
OPEN GOVERNMENT GUIDE
WHAT EVERY NEWSROOM IN AMERICA NEEDSIf you have questions about your state’s open records or open meetings laws, we have answers.
The fth edition of our state Open Government Guide, formerly called Tapping Ofcials’ Secrets, is a comprehensive and up-to-date guide to open government laws in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each state outline is written by an open government expert whose law practice regularly handles access issues. New in this compendium is an emphasis on accessing certain information hidden by privacy and national security concerns in the post-9/11 era.View it online at
www.rcfp.org/ogg
. If you like it, go to our order form —
www.rcfp.org/orderform
 — and buy one for the newsroom. It’s available as a complete compendium for $100, or as individual state booklets for $10.
Think of it as 911...
for journalists
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 The Reporters Committee toll-free hotline provides free emergency legal advice on libel, subpoenas, state and federal freedom of information laws, access to courts and public meetings, prior restraints and gag orders.
LEGAL ASSISTANCE HOTLINE
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press1101 Wilson Blvd, Suite 1100, Arlington, Va. 22209
 
Federal Open Government Guide 1
Federal Open Government Guide
Introduction ...................................................................................................................2 The Federal Freedom of Information Act ....................................................................4 How FOIA works .....................................................................................................4 Filing a request .........................................................................................................4 Agencies covered under FOIA .................................................................................5 Asking for records .....................................................................................................6 When filing a request is required .............................................................................6 Eligible FOIA requesters ..........................................................................................7 Try the informal approach first ................................................................................7 Making a formal request ...........................................................................................7 Paying fees ................................................................................................................8 Fee waivers ................................................................................................................8 Response times .......................................................................................................10 Expedited processing and fast-tracking your request ............................................10 Personally inspecting records .................................................................................10 Appealing an initial denial ......................................................................................11 How to file a FOIA lawsuit ....................................................................................12 Exemptions to disclosure under FOIA ..................................................................13 1. National security ............................................................................................13 2. Internal agency rules ......................................................................................14 3. Statutory exemption ......................................................................................15 4. Trade secrets ..................................................................................................17 5. Internal agency memos ..................................................................................19 6. Personal privacy .............................................................................................20 7. Law enforcement records ..............................................................................22 8. Bank reports ...................................................................................................23 9. Oil and gas well data ......................................................................................23 Major U.S. Supreme Court FOIA cases ................................................................24 
Sidebars:
 
 Frequently asked questions 
 ......................................................................................6 
 Mandatory declassification review
..........................................................................14 
 A tale of two releases 
 .............................................................................................16 
Commonly requested records 
 ..................................................................................18Federal Open Meetings Laws .....................................................................................26 The Federal Advisory Committee Act ...................................................................26 How FACA works ..............................................................................................26 Where FACA applies .........................................................................................26 How to enforce FACA .......................................................................................26 The Government in the Sunshine Act ...................................................................26 How the Sunshine Act works ............................................................................26 Definition of agency ..........................................................................................27 Definition of meeting ........................................................................................28 How to enforce the Sunshine Act .....................................................................28 Exemptions to open meetings under the Sunshine Act ....................................28 The Privacy Act ...........................................................................................................29 How the Privacy Act works ....................................................................................29 How Privacy Act lawsuits affect journalists ...........................................................29Endnotes ......................................................................................................................30Sample materials ..........................................................................................................31 FOIA Request Letter ..............................................................................................31 FOIA Appeal Letter ...............................................................................................32 FOIA Complaint ....................................................................................................33 Vaughn Motion .......................................................................................................34 Request for your own files under FOIA and the Privacy Act ................................35Statutes.........................................................................................................................36 Freedom of Information Act ..................................................................................36 Government in the Sunshine Act ...........................................................................40
Federal Open Government Guide
10th Editionformerly titled
How to Use the Federal FOI Act
_________
Editor
Corinna J. Zarek
Contributors
Gregg P. LeslieKathleen CullinanHannah BergmanScott Albright Stacey Laskin Jason Wiederin_________
Funding for this guide provided by:
Sigma Delta Chi Foundation of the Society of Professional JournalistsThe Gannett Foundation_________Published by The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the PressLucy A. DalglishExecutive DirectorSpecial thanks to Editor Emeritus Rebecca Daugherty_________© 2009 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the PressIndividual copies and bulk orders of this guide are available through the Reporters Committee. Contact us for pricing information.The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press1101 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1100 Arlington, Va. 22209(703) 807-2100E-mail:publications@rcfp.org hotline@rcfp.org Web: www.rcfp.org 

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