Putting TRAC to Work
  News Organizations
Information Today, Inc.
March 31, 2015

Sunshine Week 2015: Open Government Is Good Government
By Barbie E. Keiser

Over the years, FOIA has been tweaked through amendments meant to ensure that agencies are responsive to requests. According to the Center for Effective Government’s most recent analysis of the 15 federal agencies that receive more than 90% of all FOIA requests, performance is improving, but two-thirds of these agencies still did not achieve a grade higher than D+ in overall performance. According to FOIA’s website, although about 42% of FOIA requests were released in full in fiscal year 2014 and about 49% were released in part, about 9% were denied. Complaints include increased processing time, rising fees, an overly complex and lengthy appeals process, and a backlog that stands at an all-time high (159,741 requests). According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), 422 FOIA suits were filed in federal district courts in fiscal year 2014 (compared to 372 in fiscal year 2013). Bureaucratic hurdles and costs associated with FOIA requests (for conducting records searches, photocopying documents, and hiring lawyers for redacting material and technical experts for analyzing data) are prevalent in many jurisdictions, with a result that some FOIA requests are abandoned (see articles from USA TODAY and News-Press).

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
Copyright 2015
TRAC TRAC at Work TRAC TRAC at Work News Organizations News Organizations