FOIA March Madness 2017

Back for a second year, FOIA March Madness pits 64 federal government agencies against each other to process an identical request for standard materials, a battle for the title of Most Responsive Agency.

After the initial FOIA request comes the appeal. Don’t like your fee category? Never heard back from the agency? Or, if you did, were redactions where they didn’t belong? There are a few reasons a requester might want to appeal an agency’s response to a request, and before taking the matter to court, the administrative appeal can be a useful tool in prying more materials out of the government.

Check out the language of this year’s competition by visiting one of the requests associated with this project page. Stay on top of an agency’s response by following the request; you’ll receive updates each time we hear something back. And be sure to check back for the completed materials to learn how to file a more successful appeal.


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Want to play? All you have to do is choose your winner for each bracket category and one overall winner for the tournament. Submit your picks in the form below.

7 Articles

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s guide to better FOIA appeals

Need a guide to crafting your own appeal to some common denials from agencies holding back your documents? Here’s your quick how-to in the words of those winning requesters themselves, put together by 2017’s Most Responsive Agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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FOIA March Madness 2017: And the winner is …

For a month, 64 federal government Freedom of Information Act agencies have been waging noble battle for the title of Most Responsive Agency 2017. It’s been four weeks of phone conversations, follow ups, and frustratingly close calls, and now we’re ready to announce the champion of this year’s match-up.

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FOIA March Madness 2017: Announcing the FOIA Final Four

It’s week four of MuckRock’s bracket-style March Madness race to fill a FOIA the fastest, which means it time to announce the winners of each division - and who made it into the FOIA Final Four.

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FOIA March Madness 2017: Heading into the Semifinals

It’s week three of MuckRock’s bracket-style March Madness race to fill a FOIA the fastest, and while a few unlikely challengers are looking strong heading into the semis, an entire division is looking like their heart just isn’t into it.

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FOIA March Madness 2017: Round Two Begins

MuckRock’s bracket-style March Madness race to fill a FOIA the fastest kicked off last week. Can USDA hold onto their title? Did the Highway Administration outpace Amtrak? Is ICE or BOP less bad? Find out now with a look at who advanced from Round One.

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It’s tip-off time for FOIA March Madness 2017

This morning, we released the initial round of requests for FOIA March Madness 2017, but there’s still time to get your bracket in MuckRock’s contest for Most Responsive Agency.

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FOIA March Madness 2017 brackets are now open

It’s a mad world year-round, but for one month a year, you can help us cheer your favorite hometown agencies toward making it more transparent.

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64 Requests