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

Update on CAGW’s FOIA Project

The WasteWatcher

On May 12, 2009 Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) undertook an ambitious project to find out if members of Congress were trying to influence how the funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), aka economic stimulus bill, were being spent.

Using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), CAGW contacted 44 federal agencies and departments.  As of May 29, CAGW had only received 12 responses out of the 44 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.

This small percentage of responses show that a significant number of agencies have not been cooperative to CAGW’s FOIA requests.  For example, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) responded with 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.  Defeating the whole purpose of the project, CBP blacked out all the names in the documents, concealing 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