Secrecy Check: FOIA in FY2013

Each year, the Office of Information Policy (OIP) collects and summarizes agencies’ FOIA reports to give a look at the broader state of FOIA processing.

The Basics:

For the third fiscal year in a row, the federal government received and processed a record number of requests. The number of requests received increased by eight percent, to 704,394. The number of requests processed in FY 2013 increased by two percent, reaching 678,391.

Agencies’ FOIA backlog increased 33 percent, erasing FY2012’s 14 percent reduction. The backlog is the number of requests that federal agencies have not responded to by the 20-day deadline set by the law.

Here’s how the numbers break down:

Fiscal Year

Number of FOIA Requests Received

Number of FOIA Requests Processed

Size of Backlog

2013

704394

678391

95564

2012

651254

665924

71790

2011

644165

631424

83490

2010

597415

600849

69526

2009

557825

612893

77377

Administrative appeals (of withheld information) increased governmentwide by just one percent, to 12,028. The government overall processed 12,042 appeals in 2013 and decreased the backlog by just three requests over FY 2013, from 3,119 to 3,116. 

FOIA staff numbers increased by 3.6 percent from 2012, regaining some ground after a 7.5 percent drop between fiscal years 2011 and 2012.

The amount of money spent processing FOIA requests overall increased by approximately $17 million (4 percent) to $446,792,333.69. The amount spent per request increased by $49.73.  

Year

Cost of Processing FOIA Requests

Number of Requests Processed

Cost / Request Processed

2010

$394,222,134.00

600849

$656.11

2011

$412,647,829.50

631424

$653.52

2012

$405,464,199.93

665924

$608.87

2013

$446,792,333.69

678391

$658.61

 

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