Putting TRAC to Work
  Legal and Scholarly
University of Denver Sturm College of Law
September 17, 2015

FOIA, Inc.
By Margaret B. Kwoka

Contrary to the intent of Congress and widespread expectations at the time FOIA was passed, the news media have failed to find FOIA the great government transparency tool it was promised to be, and in fact, constitute a tiny fraction of FOIA users. One 2006 study, which looked at one month’s worth of FOIA logs from 11 Cabinet-level departments and six large agencies, found that only 6% of FOIA requests were submitted by journalists. News media also represent a tiny—and declining—proportion of the requesters who file lawsuits to challenge FOIA denials, ranging between 1 and 2 percent of all FOIA plaintiffs. Federal agencies are spending vast resources fulfilling FOIA requests submitted by business enterprises—producing information whose benefit is largely if not entirely captured by a single requesting business—and the data show that they are not recouping even a meaningful fraction of those costs......[Citing TRAC research].

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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