by Joe Fitzgerald
Public officials will sometimes self-censor their emails, memos, and even texts for fear they’ll be embarrassed or caught telling the truth if a Freedom of Information request is filed. You’d think that caution would make them better communicators. Recent history proves that’s not the case. Sometimes it seems the Freedom of Information Act, FOIA, instead frees them to do the bare minimum.
The often unjustified fear of information requests, para-FOIA, ignores how infrequent the requests are, not to mention how vanishingly rare convictions for violations are. Enforcement is by the officials covered by the law, and prosecution is up to the citizen. The real danger, if you can call it that, is a phrase or observation FOIA-ed and ripped out of context and going viral on social media. But in general the people who will do that find it easier to just make stuff up. Continue reading