James Madison Project offers pro bono legal, professional advice on FOIA

In the past few Administrations, we have seen increasing amounts of secrecy. The federal Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") is a key tool for journalists to gain insight into how government works behind the scenes.

Through his law office, and at times in cooperation with the non-partisan James Madison Project, attorney Mark S. Zaid is willing to represent journalists pursuing national security-related FOIA litigation pro bono (meaning, he will absorb all legal fees) so long as out-of-pocket costs, which should amount to less than $500, are covered. In areas involving science and public health, Zaid requests a nominal fee to help cover research expenses.

The James Madison Project focuses on education and transparency in matters of intelligence and national security. Board member Paul D. Thacker is willing to offer confidential counseling on FOIA tactics to ensure timely and effective results.

Attorney Mark S. Zaid is a longtime non-partisan Washington, D.C. attorney with extensive experience from the past 25 years of litigating FOIA lawsuits ( Zaid has represented numerous journalists and news organizations over the years (including, Arianna Huffington, American Lawyer Media, Daily Caller, Gawker, and journalists with ABC, NBC, Daily Beast, LA Times, Associated Press and others) has taught the D.C. Bar's Continuing Legal Education class on FOIA since 2003, and previously served as a member of the Federal Freedom of Information Act Advisory Committee. You can reach Zaid at

Paul D. Thacker is a longtime DC journalist who has written for a broad range of publications including Mother Jones, The New York Times, JAMA, New Scientist, Columbia Journalism Review, and the New England Journal of Medicine. For several years he ran congressional investigations into corruption of science for the United States Senate Finance Committee, with stories about these investigations appearing in most major news outlets including the New York Times, the AP, CBS, Wall Street Journal, Science, Nature, and the Washington Post. He has lectured on investigations of corruption in science at universities and science meetings, and has advised several reporters and congressional staff on FOIA tactics. You can reach Thacker at