America's "most prolific" transparency advocate is crowdfunding to force disclosures from Trump

Ryan Shapiro, the punk Freedom of Information Access ninja, is crowdfunding a warchest to fund his inevitable lawsuits against the Trump government when he subjects it to the same relentless bombardment of transparency requests he visited upon the Obama administration.

The Department of Justice calls Shapiro its "most prolific" open documents requester — others call him the "FOIA superhero." Shapiro is currently suing 12 government agencies to disclose information that belongs to the public, but which the agencies will not let us see.

Shapiro's new project is called Operation 45 — for the 45th presidency in United States history — and he's gearing up for a fight, given that the Trump campaign has been even less transparent than the record-settingly-opaque Obama presidency, which invoked the Espionage Act against more whistleblowers than all the other presidencies combined.

Operation 45's other half is litigator Jeffrey Light, another punk music fan turned FOIA superhero, who represents Shapiro in his existing suits.

But things are not rosy. "FOIA is broken," Shapiro explained. "One of the core causes of FOIA's brokenness is that there are essentially no penalties for noncompliance. So despite FOIA being federal law, if an agency doesn't want to comply with the Freedom of Information Act, it often simply refuses to do so."

He lamented that the FBI "does nearly everything within its power to avoid compliance with FOIA," which leads to "the outrageous state of affairs in which the leading federal law enforcement agency in the country is in routine and flagrant violation of federal law."

When he is not filing FOIA requests, writing his dissertation for MIT or listening to hardcore punk, Shapiro is also a research affiliate at Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.

Operation 45 [Ryan Shapiro/Gofundme]

"FOIA superhero" launches campaign to make Donald Trump's administration transparent
[Ben Norton/Salon]

(via Naked Capitalism)