From million-dollar price tags to requests for a few cents, MuckRock and its users have had its fair share of FOIA fee debacles. We decided to look at our 50,000+ requests to-date and breakdown the biggest and most noteworthy in each state.
MuckRock is currently taking submissions of your FOIA fee stories. With just one week into our crowdsource, requesters far and wide have brought their issues to the table. While submitted responses vary, overall they show major discrepancies in the FOIA fee system across the country.
Our goal at MuckRock is to help you get the records as quickly and affordable as possible. Help us with our goal by sharing your FOIA fee story! Your input will help create useful resources in tackling request fees and developing strategies that all requesters can use.
Last Friday, MuckRock’s Sam Whitmore Media Survey Fellow Jessie Gomez joined us for our weekly Friday FOIA Chat on MuckRock’s Slack Channel. Gomez is currently working on building FOIA resources for researchers and journalists, and one of the problems she is looking to tackle is the complicated, varying, and often baseless FOIA fees. Here’s some strategies that came out of the conversation.
Last month, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice denied MuckRock a fee waiver for a public records request regarding immigration policy, stating that the TDCJ “does not waive fees for this type of request.” Last year, TDCJ made the same argument to justify a cost estimates of over one million dollars for records related to sexual assault in prison. This begs the question - what type of requests do TDCJ waive fees for?
|Cost to Request FOIA|