After hearing the story of reporter Lawrence Mower, who discovered fraudsters after a FOIA request in Florida, a group for the Columbia Journalism Review and PennLive looked to expand on the analysis.
Intrigued, we wanted to chart new territory: to find out whether these repeat winning patterns exist across the country. We decided to submit public records requests in every state with a lottery—an adventure in itself given that FOIA laws vary significantly by state. In all, we sent more than 100 public record requests to lotteries for information about their winners, game odds, and investigative reports. Getting those records wasn’t simple, as we outline below.
This should be turned into a class project for Stat 101 courses.