Bloomberg Tests Finds U.S. Agencies Unresponsive

1 October 2012

Only eight of 57 agencies in the United States responded within the 20-day disclosure window to requests for information filed by Bloomberg News to test the freedom of information system.

The requests filed in June were for information about official travel by their top official.

About half of the 57 agencies eventually disclosed information by Sept. 14, most of them well past the legal deadline.

Of the 20 Cabinet-level agencies, only the Small Business Administration responded within the legal limit, Bloomberg reported.

The records of five other Cabinet-level departments — Commerce, Labor, Treasury, the Office of Budget and Management, and the U.S. Trade Representative — were turned over past the deadline. “Fourteen either haven’t fully complied or haven’t responded at all, including the Department of Justice, whose mandate includes enforcing compliance of disclosure laws,” according to Bloomberg’s Sept. 28 article by Jim Synder and Danielle Ivory, and an accomanying graphic-filled website.

 The U.S. government processed 631,424 FOIA filings last year, with the number of backlogged requests growing 20 percent, from 2010 to 2011, to 83,490.

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