Wrapping up the first round of FOIA March Madness 2018

Wrapping up the first round of FOIA March Madness 2018

While 20 percent of agencies acknowledged the request on the same day it was submitted, in some brackets over half remain silent

Written by
Edited by JPat Brown

MuckRock submitted the same request to 64 federal agencies a week ago today, launching our annual competition to declare the federal government’s Most Responsive Agency.

After one week, we’re seeing the advantage to systems where acknowledgements and tracking numbers are automatically assigned from the get-go. It’s how the Defense Logistics Agency easily edged out the Defense Contract Management Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration eliminated the Secret Service from the b(1) bracket. It also gave Small Business Administration the advance over the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a federal corporation agency that acts an an electric utility company in the states surrounding Tennessee.

In all, 20 percent of our participants were able to get us acknowledgements on the same day our FOIA request was submitted.

But, overall, most have yet to get us anything all. By bracket, the percentage of silent agencies so far is:

b(1) - 68.75%

b(2) - 43.75%

b(4) - 43.75%

b(9) - 62.5%

This year’s ask is no small task. We’re requesting talking points emails for a 16-month period, broken into those sent to and from the Public Affairs office and those held by any and all agency employees. But that’s no excuse for the 35 FOIA offices that haven’t let us know that they received our request - particularly when there already certain contenders getting us estimates for the number of responsive emails they hold.

Check out who has moved on, who has been eliminated, and who squeezed by one the graces of their previous responsiveness - and check back next week to see who’s heading into the semifinals!





Image via Pete Souza via Wikimedia Commons