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The State of FOIA 2018


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Every year, we celebrate Sunshine Week to honor the work of the journalists and private citizens who are utilizing the Freedom of Information Act to bring government records out of the dark filing cabinets where they live and into the sunlight. The federal Freedom of Information Act and the state-level freedom of information laws make it possible for us to find out more about our government and learn about the inner workings of the organizations that keep our communities running. But as much as FOIA and the local FOIL statutes have helped us all, there is still so much work to be done.

Published in: News & Politics
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The State of FOIA 2018

  1. 1. HOWSUCCESSFULAREFREEDOMOFINFORMATION ACTREQUESTS? Only 26.41 percent of FOIA requests are successful, meaning they get a response and result in new information being released to the public. State Massachusetts(14,972) NewYork(7,318) California(4,877) Arkansas(4,432) Washington(3,722) Allowed response time Average response time HowLongIsTooLong? The allowed FOIA request response time is 20 days, but the actual response time is often much, much longer. HowManyRequestsAreThere? There are currently more than 17,000 requests submitted through MuckRock. Of those, more than 3,600 have no responsive documents. And while more requests have been completed than are overdue, it's not by much. 20days 170days 27.99% REFERENCES MuckRock CREATED BY News Media Alliance 26.41 HOWEXPENSIVEISFOIA? Only 2.21 percent of FOIA requests have a fee, but the average fee is a shocking $5,203,963.59. 18.56% 10.77% 17,239Total requests filed Completed requests Rejected requests Overdue requests TopRequests While people are requesting records everywhere and from every agency, there are a few who have gotten more than their share of requests. Agency FBI(46,484) Dept.ofState(11,928) NSA(7,943) CIA(7,599) Customs&BorderProtection (4,329) No responsive documents 21.05% SUNSHINE WEEK 2018 THE STATE OF FOIA