By Katie Seltzer
I was recently asked if I had ever filed a Freedom of Information appeal. Sure, I said. Many times.
What I meant was that I had filed a Freedom of Information records request and had been denied, and then I objected to that denial. The public information officer might say something like “the records you have requested are exempt from public disclosure based on this statute.” And then I would respond and say something like “I disagree with your interpretation of how that exemption is applied. So do the courts; see this case for further information about why I’m right and you must give me access to those public records.” I’m more polite in my actual appeals, of course, but what’s important is that I’ve filed appeals with agencies directly. Sometimes it works, but often it doesn’t, and then the only recourse is to sue, which can be costly and time-consuming. (Read More)