FOIA March Madness 2018
It’s the U.S. of A 2018, friends and frenemies! And, hey now, maybe you’re thinking we’ve had enough madness mongering already. Hit the headlines and you’ll see the latest list of reasons it’s a crazy world out there - is it mad enough for you already, folks? Well, turn away now, then, fam, because MuckRock is back for a third year with our annual faceoff! World! It’s FOIA MARCH MADNESS 2018!!!
Here’s how it works:
We’ve chosen 64 teams from across the federal Freedom of Information Act offices. The selection is less-than-scientific, including some fan favorites from last year and some new contenders and absent certain non-responsives from the 2017 iteration.
We’ve submitted the same FOIA request to each office, and we’ll be eliminating slowpokes each week and advancing those quick on the reply.
Image by Pete Souza via Wikimedia Commons
The Securities and Exchange Commission receives thousands of FOIA requests each year - over 13,000 during the last one - and yet they managed to walk away the winner of MuckRock’s annual FOIA March Madness competition for the second year running. Other departments, though, have also provided some sort of response, and they’ve done so with variation; we’ll take a look at some of those differences here.
After a month of phone calls, letters, emails, faxes, and failed FOIAs, we’ve reached the final two competitors in our annual match-up of federal Freedom of Information Act offices. We began with the same request - a broad, arguably “burdensome” call for all “talking points” emails since Election 2016 - sent to 64 different FOIA agencies, and today we’re left with two offices that have worked hard to clarify the request, limit the results, and get us a sample of the information we’re after.