FOIA This! — Digging Out Government Spending

Tracking down local government expenses is a recurrent theme for many successful freedom of information requests. Some recent examples suggest that quite a variety of information is potentially available — about credit card charges, salaries, retirement parties, and even costs of leak investigations. Have a great story you developed using a FOI/RTI request? Send it to us at freeinfo@email.gwu.edu. We’re currently looking for examples regarding immigration.

GIJN Members in the News

It’s been a busy first quarter of 2017 for GIJN members — from picking up Pulitzer Prizes to launching crowdfunding campaigns. There have also been new projects and new collaborations forged. Here are some noteworthy splashes made by GIJN members around the world.

Protecting Forests with FOI Laws

Every year the world loses 13 million hectares (32 million acres) of forests, an area about the size of Greece. A critical way to stem this forest loss is to make concessions data more transparent. This information is critical as it gives journalists, civil society groups and the public the information they need to hold the government and the private sector accountable for deforestation.

The Tax Disclosure Project

Last month, an international group of investigative journalists launched the Tax Disclosure Project – a global initiative requesting politicians in 20 countries to publicly disclose their tax returns. The project, coordinated by Finance Uncovered, aims to ensure transparency, accountability and an avoidance of wrongdoing and potential conflicts of interest among lawmakers. In this piece, Finance Uncovered co-director Nick Mathiason shares with GIJN the process of setting up this cross-border collaboration.