Extra Extra : First Amendment & FOIA

Audit shows Miss. rural water association plagued by financial problems

An audit of the North Lee County Water Association in Mississippi turned up widespread financial management problems, including violations of several state and federal laws, the Daily Journal (Tupelo, MS) reports.

The audit, which is likely “the most rigorous examination ever” of the nonprofit cooperative's financial records, comes on the heels of a $1.2 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Administration.

While copies of the audit are required to be available for public inspection, the water association did not comply with state law.

The association has been plagued with problems, according to the ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Accident reports, deportations and school finances

Jail Crunch | Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

OCCRP reporters filed freedom of information requests to prison authorities across Eastern Europe. The interactive visualization is a compilation of the data received from each prison authority, organized to demonstrate similarities and differences between prison demographics and crime categories across the region.

OCCRP journalists conducted dozens of interviews with convicted criminals throughout Eastern Europe. The videos are an extension of the Jail Crunch visualization and provide a personal window into how crime works in the region.

 

Drivers pay for accident reports | Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A private company that sells vehicle accident reports for ...

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New York state offices ignore Freedom of Information Laws

Extra Extra Monday: American Indian casinos, oil field fatalities, student absenteeism

Suicide rate hits 25-year high in region | Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal

Craig Russell Wishnick is one of 238 residents of Dutchess and Ulster counties to die by suicide in the five years ending in 2011, 73 more than in the five years ending in 2003, according to a Poughkeepsie Journal analysis of death certificates over a 13-year period. That is an increase in harder-hit Dutchess of 62 percent and the first hike in the county rate after a quarter-century of steady and solid decline.

 

Does Utah’s air pollution increase school absences? | The Salt Lake Tribune

Health problems are a ...

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Email shows effort to shield bin Laden photos

According to the Associated Press, "A newly-released email shows that 11 days after the killing of terror leader Osama bin Laden in 2011, the U.S. military's top special operations officer ordered subordinates to destroy any photographs of the al-Qaida founder's corpse or turn them over to the CIA."

When the AP initially asked for emails to and from Adm. William McRaven, the document ordering the removal or destruction of the bin Laden photos was not included. The conservative legal group Judicial Watch recently received the email under a Freedom of Information Act request.

Read the full story ...

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Fired Honolulu cop's file illustrates lack of public insight into misconduct

It took the Honolulu-based Civil Beat almost one year and $935 to get access to files on three discharged police officers. The records, which were heavily redacted, provide new insight into the case of an officer accused of raping a woman on the hood of his patrol car.

The officer’s case “illustrates how difficult it is for the public to check on police misconduct and whether police officials are effectively addressing it, including removing bad cops from the street,” the Civil Beat wrote.

Read the full story here.

The online news service has been investigating police misconduct as part ...

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Extra Extra Monday: For-profit prisons, the Aurora shooter's ammo, Koch brother dispute tactics, child labor in gold mines

Gangs Ruled Prison as For-Profit Model Put Blood on Floor | Bloomberg News
“No national data tracks whether the facilities are run as well as public ones, and private-prison lobbyists for years have successfully fought efforts to bring them under federal open-records law. Yet regulatory, court and state records show that the industry has repeatedly experienced the kind of staffing shortages and worker turnover that helped produce years of chaos at Walnut Grove.”

Many mishaps among drillers, but few fines | EnergyWire
There are thousands of oil spills at the nation's onshore oil and gas well sites every year. But the ...

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Law to protect news sources could backfire in some cases, experts say

Legal experts say the proposed federal shield law could actually diminish the protections some federal courts have recognized, the St. Louis Beacon reports. "Contrary to conventional wisdom, the proposed federal shield law backed by the press and President Barack Obama wouldn’t help reporters protect their sources in big national security cases, such as the recent ones involving the AP and James Rosen of Fox. In fact, the law could make it harder for the press to protect sources in those cases."