Update on CAGW’s FOIA Project | Citizens Against Government Waste

Update on CAGW’s FOIA Project

The WasteWatcher

On May 29, 2009 Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) released a Wastewatcher describing the current status of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that were released on May 12, 2009.  The purpose of the FOIA requests is to highlight whether or not money from the economic stimulus bill, also known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), is going to benefit certain districts of members of Congress.

At the time the previous Wastewatcher was written, CAGW had only received 12 responses out of the 44 federal agencies that were sent requests.  The department of Transportation was the only agency that sent a full response.  Now in mid July, two months after the FOIA requests were sent; CAGW has received 28 responses out of the 44 agencies.  Nine agencies have fully responded and two have partially responded.

Because only a small percentage of responses have been received, one can assume that not all agencies have been cooperative to CAGW’s FOIA requests.  For example, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is one agency that has strived to acknowledge CAGW’s FOIA request by only providing as little amount of information as possible.  In response to the FOIA request, CBP sent CAGW 143 pages of various committee reports and emails concerning funds made that were made available to CBP by the ARRA.  Surprisingly, all of the constituents and names in those papers had been blacked out in order to conceal the identity of those involved in the process. 

As CAGW attempts to shed light on the funds that different government agencies are receiving and spending through ARRA, it is difficult when certain agencies not only take a long time to respond, but also when agencies limit the amount of information that they choose to provide.

Logan Campbell