Cloudy Crystal Ball for Those Seeking DC FOIA Stats for 2014: Mayor’s Office Agrees with Coalition that the Published Annual Report Is Wrong, Promises Corrected Report to DC Council and Public
dcogcadmin | May 29, 2015 | Last modified: September 8, 2019
Corrected parts of the DC report on FOIA processing, appeals and litigation in 2014 were posted to the Office of the Secretary website in mid-July, acording to a letter dated in June from the Secretary to the Council accompanying the package. The Coalition will now begin its annual review and analysis of these data.
The D.C. government has agreed to withdraw the mayor’s 2014 FOIA report to the D.C. Council and the public and replace it with correct data, following a report of errors by the Open Government Coalition.
The report is required by law and must include a full-year account of D.C. agencies’ processing of requests from the public for records under the D.C. Freedom of Information Act—numbers, on-time performance, rejections and reasons, and also appeals and lawsuits.
The 2014 report, as submitted earlier in 2015, left out all information on processing of FOIA requests and responses by the Metropolitan Police Department. (MPD). The resulting totals and analyses are thus all significantly understated since MPD in recent years has received 17-20 per cent of all requests–far more than any other agency.
Aide to the mayor, Jim Slattery, responded to the Coalition in an email dated May 26, “Indeed, MPD is missing from the spreadsheet, so clearly a glitch in our system. A corrected report will be generated and revised online. This will likely occur within the next 10-days.”
The Coalition uses the data in the report to prepare a yearly analysis of the District government performance in handling requests, appeals and litigation, as part of its work as the District’s transparency watchdog. Prior reports are on the Coalition website; for the latest, issued in 2014 for the year 2013, see here.