Sunshine Week recap: A look at the numbers

MuckRock averaged nearly one fulfilled request per day

Written by George LeVines

Between Sunshine Week 2012 and last week's celebration, MuckRock has averaged almost one fulfilled open records request per day; 336 to be precise. Thirty-nine partially fulfilled requests bring that total to about one per day. While you can always check what's open and fulfilled at our requests page, we thought we'd break down some numbers from our 3,000+ requests: 542 Instances since last Sunshine Week where a user’s request was closed. We’re defining “closed” as a request either fulfilled by responsive documents, a partially responsive communication or a rejection letter. Why only include data points in these three categories? Each request is unique — just look at a few exchanges between MuckRock users and agencies — making it hard enough to state anything definitive about the data. It’s also worth remembering that certain FOIA exemptions carry more weight depending on the duties of the agency in question. 231 Unique agencies queried: From the FBI (68 requests) to the FDA (4) to smaller departments such as the Somerville, Mass. Housing Authority (2) and the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (1). 167 Agencies who closed only one request. Again, the total number of requests to that particular agency were not counted since requests with any kind of pending status were not included in this data set. 34 The median number days to close a requests for all agencies. This number does a better job of taking outliers into account. The FBI averaged 132 days per response and the CIA 274 days. But those agencies have extended backlogs and go through a heavy scrutiny process before releasing documents. But five months to cough up CIA employee cafeteria complaints?

7 Agencies that closed 10 or more requests. The top three? The FBI (68), CIA(25) and Massachusetts State Police (20) — who cited an exemption for mugshots in rejecting most of those requests.   --- *Image via [RCFP](*