Expanding Open Government

Last week was Sunshine Week, which is sponsored annually by the American Society of Newspaper Editors and designed to generate awareness about open government and freedom of information.

Over the years, Freedom of Information Act requests have given the public insight into how its government operates and what it is up to, including this link to John Lennon’s FBI file, which was first made public through a FOIA request. The FBI keeps Lennon’s file online with about 50 other luminaries’ files, ranging from Cesar Chavez to Eleanor Roosevelt. (For an alphabetical list of FOIA files that the FBI keeps online, click here.)

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has an online FOIA letter generator for the public to use. The Justice Department's list of principal FOIA contacts at federal agencies can be found here. Also, catch the latest on Congress' efforts to expand FOIA.

The FBI began investigating (some would say “harassing”) the former Beatle when the bureau learned that Lennon contributed $75,000 to a group planning to disrupt the Republican National Convention in 1972. To see an excerpt from what the G-Men learned, click the "view image" link below.

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