For the fourth year, EFF is naming and shaming government officials and agencies around the country who stand in the way of transparency. We honor these information gatekeepers with The Foilies, our tongue-in-cheek “awards” during Sunshine Week, which runs from March 11-17, 2018. Think of it like “The Golden Raspberries,” but with outrageous responses to public records requests instead of box-office blunders.
We’re accepting outside nominations through Dec. 31. So please:
- Send us your government secrecy Gigli.
- Tell us about the Freddy Got Fingered response to your Freedom of Information Act request.
- If an agency demanded you pay the equivalent of Battlefield Earth’s budget before handing over your records, we want to know.
Once again, we’re collaborating with the Association of Alternative Newsmedia and its participating member publications to publish The Foilies and ensure they serve as a warning to agencies far and wide.
For more information on how to offer up agencies for consideration, please keep reading our FAQ below.
To give you a taste, 2017’s winners are available here.
Who Can Win?
The Foilies are not awarded to people who filed FOIA requests. These are not a type of recognition anyone actually should covet. There’s no physical trophy or other tangible award, just a virtual distinction of demerit issued to government agencies and public officials (plus the odd rock star) who snubbed their nose at transparency. If you filed a FOIA request with the Ministry of Silly Walks for a list of grant recipients, and a civil servant in a bowler hat told you to take a ludicrous hike, then the ministry itself would be eligible for the Foilies.
What Are the Categories?
For the most part, we do not determine the categories in advance. Rather, we look at the nominations we receive, winnow them down to the most outrageous, then come up with fitting tributes, such as the “Most Expensive FOIA Fee Estimate” and “Sue the Messenger Award.” That said, there are a few things we’re looking for in particular, such as extremely long processing times and surreal redactions.
Who Can Nominate
Anyone, regardless of whether you were involved in the issue or just happened to read about it on Twitter. Send as many nominations as you like!
All nominations must have had some event happen during calendar year 2017. For example, you can nominate something related to a FOIA request filed in 1994 if you finally received a rejection in 2017.
All nominations must be received by Dec. 31, 2017.
How to Submit a Nomination
Send nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org with “FOILIES 2018 NOMINATION” in the subject line. You can nominate multiple entries in a single email, just make sure to enumerate the nominations so we can easily separate them. Please try to include the following information:
Category: One-line suggested award title
Description: Succinct explanation of the public records issue and why it deserves recognition.
Links: Include any links to stories, records, or other information that will help us better understand the issue.
Contact details: Include a way for us to reach you with further questions. This information will remain confidential.
If we short-list your nomination, we may be in touch to request more information.