Government records, government responses

March 24, 2011

Posted by Matt Ehling

Since its inception, PRM has filed requests for government records at both the state and federal level. Thus far, our experience with the responsiveness of government agencies has been mixed.
In general, state-level agencies have been more responsive than federal entities. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety, in particular, has been quick to respond to our multiple requests. In contrast, we are still waiting for a reply from the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office after two months.

At the federal level, the CIA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have both shown themselves to react rapidly to FOIA requests.

The Office of Legal Counsel and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to us quickly, but we have not heard from them since – even after follow-up correspondence. This sluggish FOIA response is fairly typical of federal agencies, even though it violates the plain letter of federal law.

We are currently appealing the CIA’s denial of our April 30, 2010 request. Administrative appeals and other actions will be coming soon for our multiple, outstanding requests.

UPDATE – I spoke with Randy Gustafson, public information officer for the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, earlier this afternoon. His office has not turned up responsive records yet, but he is still searching.