Feds Demand Over Half A Million Dollars To Fulfill A Freedom Of Information Act Request

from the well-that's-one-way-to-avoid-it dept

When President Obama took office, one of the very first things he did was declare that all government agencies should default towards openness in dealing with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. It looks like some are trying to sneak around that a bit. Wired has the story of an FOIA request where the government is demanding $522,886 in order to fulfill the request. This certainly gives off the appearances of pretending to be open while figuring out a nice way to toss up a huge roadblock. Oh, by the way, that single bill would just about equal the entire cost that the US gov't charged for all FOIA responses in 2008. Why so expensive? That's not particularly clear. Apparently, the guy filing the request even knows which file cabinets the information he needs is in, so it's not like the gov't has to go searching for it...


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    Brendan (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 10:11am

    So, let's make it a big issue

    ... and git'r solved.

    Enough negative PR should push that request right through, I hope.

     

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 11:11am

      Re: So, let's make it a big issue

      "Enough negative PR should push that request right through, I hope."

      ... thru to the CIA--and shortly thereafter a man with an icepick and incredibly thorough knowledge of explosives and poisons will drop by this guys house and have a nice little chat with him...

      *(For those of you who can't tell--that's some satire right there.)

      I'm glad this is getting a press time.

       

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      seriously?, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 12:28pm

      Re: So, let's make it a big issue

      Sorry Brendan, I can't take anyone seriously that uses the word "git'r"

       

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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 11:22am

    What a surprise

    WHAT?!? Obama isn't following through on a campaign promise? Who would have thought?

    /sarcasm

     

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      Rebel Freek (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 11:29am

      Re: What a surprise

      Obviously you did not have him serve as your senator...

      /more sarcasm...

       

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        Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 11:48am

        Re: Re: What a surprise

        "Obviously you did not have him serve as your senator..."

        Are you shitting me? NO ONE remembers him serving as their Senator. He was in office for what...10 minutes? And for 9 of those minutes he was campaigning for his presidency....

         

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    Overcast (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 12:09pm

    You want info - PAY US - capiche?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 12:17pm

    FOIA says you have to make certain types of documents available. The act also says you can ask a reasonable price for reproduction of said material i.e. copy cost you can not charge for labor in assembling, the person also has the right to go to the facility and look at it there with no charge. Who knows what this person is asking for it could be millions of pages long.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 2:52pm

      Re:

      The act also says you can ask a reasonable price for reproduction of said material...

      And then it leaves it up to the agency's whim to decide what constitutes "reasonable".

      the person also has the right to go to the facility and look at it there with no charge.

      Citation, please.

       

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        NO!, Nov 12th, 2009 @ 7:43am

        Re: Re:

        In the government there's cost based accounting. That means if they ask for a half mil to fulfill the request, they better spend a half mil to fulfill the request, or they get their whole budget submission cut the next year.

        There are also exemptions for information which means it's not accessible via FOIA. If the information being requested is covered by an exemption, to invalidate the exemption it would have to go through legal review. And even for FOIA info most of the time it still has to go through the release office to be cleared for sensitive data.

        This sounds like 4 man years to deal with FOIA requests and that could easily be the case if the information is spread across 30 employees or if the info has an FOIA exemption on it.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2009 @ 11:10am

          Re: Re: Re:

          In the government there's cost based accounting. That means if they ask for a half mil to fulfill the request, they better spend a half mil to fulfill the request,

          And you think that might somehow be a problem? If there's one thing the gov't is good at, it's spending money.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 12:17pm

    FOIA or PIA?

    Sounds like the Paid Information Act to me.

     

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    Captain Obvious, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 12:48pm

    So why hasn't a FOIA request been made for those telco lobbying records? Or has there been?

     

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      Nastybutler77 (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 1:35pm

      Re:

      There hasn't been just a FOIA request for the telco lobby records; there's a court order. Even that hasn't stopped the administration from stalling. I LOVE the new transparency! What a breath of fresh air! I can't stop using sarcasm and exclamation points!

       

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    zbeeblebrox, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 1:00pm

    So..what happens if someone were to file a FOIA request to find out why filing for FOIA requests are so expensive?

     

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    zbeeblebrox, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 1:11pm

    So..what happens if someone were to file a FOIA request to find out why filing for FOIA requests are so expensive?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 3:09pm

    If you listen real carefully, you can hear an anus tearing.

     

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    harbingerofdoom (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 7:40pm

    ah... can you feel the change in the air? its such a breath of fresh air to have thrown off the oppressive shackles the previous administration had bound us in...



    ...wait...what?

     

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    cKarlGo, Nov 12th, 2009 @ 4:51am

    Obamapocrisy

    That pretty much says it all.

     

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    Overcast (profile), Nov 12th, 2009 @ 6:49am

    "So..what happens if someone were to file a FOIA request to find out why filing for FOIA requests are so expensive?"

    Hilary Clinton shoots you...in the wiener.


    She can...

    After all - dodge bullets in Iraq - I seen it on a video! ;)

     

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