FOIA Advisor

Q&A: From New York to Maryland to Texas

Q&A (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Q.  A friend of mine obtained some information through FOIA and has no problem sharing it with me and letting me use it.  May I use it for my benefit?  Or do I need to obtain the same FOIA information myself?  I am a resident of New York.

A.  A recipient of records through FOIA -- or the Freedom of Information Law in New York -- may disseminate those records as he or she pleases; the government does not impose any restrictions.  Therefore, unless you and your friend have a contractual agreement to the contrary, you need not make a duplicate FOIA request; you may lawfully use the information as you choose.   

Q.   Where should abuse of responding to FOIA be reported?

A.    If you have a complaint about a state or local agency in your state of residence (Maryland), you might consider contacting the Maryland Attorney General.  If you are concerned about a federal agency, the Office of Government Information Services helps requesters and agencies to resolve FOIA disputes.  

Q.  Are city governments in Texas subject to FOIA?

A.  State and local governments in Texas are subject to the Texas Public Information Act, not the federal Freedom of Information Act.