FOIA Machine joins MuckRock to make government more open for everyone

By working together, all users will benefit. FOIA Machine and MuckRock will share the same codebase, as MuckRock goes open source, which means that improvements made to one tool will be more easily developed for the other.

Djordje Padejski
3 min readNov 29, 2016

We started FOIA Machine hoping it could help people create, track and share open records requests. We wanted to hold government accountable and make it more transparent.

More than 2,000 of you joined us in that mission by contributing to this Kickstarter. The Knight Foundation and Reynolds Journalism Institute provided additional financial support and The Center for Investigative Reporting hosted, helped guide and supported the project in various capacities. Nearly 1,800 of you became active users and hundreds of you track your requests on a weekly basis. We’ve partnered with open government groups like the National Freedom of Information Coalition, and journalists from more than 50 news organizations, including USA Today, New York Public Radio and The Marshall Project, have used FOIA Machine.

Now, with fake news seemingly everywhere and government secrecy becoming the norm, public records are more important than ever. To help, we’re pleased to share that FOIA Machine is joining MuckRock. The two sites will continue to operate independently to offer easy, accessible tools to help reporters, researchers, and the general public file, track, and share their public records requests.

By working together all users benefit. FOIA Machine and MuckRock will share the same codebase, as MuckRock goes open source. As improvements are made to one tool they will more easily be developed for the other. The two sites will also share a rich database of agencies, jurisdictions, and exemptions.

FOIA Machine will remain free to let users manually track their own requests, while MuckRock will continue to offer a “full service” experience that submits the requests directly to the agency, automatically follows up, and conveniently digitizes any responsive documents.

FOIA Machine’s Coulter Jones, Djordje Padejski and Shane Shifflett will join MuckRock’s advisory board and help both tools continue in their joint mission of making government more transparent and our democracy more informed.

As journalists, researchers, and ordinary citizens continue to fight for government records at all levels, we’re hoping that this transition will give users of both sites a powerful new tool for ensuring transparency at all levels of government.

Over the next few weeks, current users of FOIA Machine will receive an email detailing how they can have their accounts transitioned over to the new site. If you’re eager to go ahead and poke around, you can try out the beta of the new FOIA Machine here (you can use either your existing MuckRock credentials or create a new account).

And finally, if you care about access to public records and government transparency, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to MuckRock. Your support means that thousands of journalists, researchers, activists, and ordinary citizens will have a better resource for holding government to account.

We’re proud of our work and grateful for all the support. We hope you’ll continue to use FOIA Machine and help us as we try to improve the public records process.

— The FOIA Machine Team: Coulter Jones, Djordje Padejski and Shane Shifflett

more info here:



Djordje Padejski

Journalism scholar, @JSKStanford Associate Director, @Cronkite_ASU; investigative/data journalist, @ICIJorg , @FOIAMACHINE, alum: @CIRonline @OCCRP @CINSerbia