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Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

The Ten Oldest Pending FOIA Requests

The National Security Archive
Freedom of Information Act Audit

Press Release
Executive Summary
The Ten Oldest FOIA Requests in the Federal Government
Chart - Agency Response Times
Table - Oldest Outstanding FOIA Requests
Findings Regarding The Ten Oldest FOIA Requests and FOIA Backlogs
Summary Discussion of Individual Agencies
Update on Phase One: The Ashcroft Memorandum
FOIA Audit Phase One: The Ashcroft Memo



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Recordkeeping Issues - The DOL is a highly decentralized agency for FOIA purposes. DOL advised the Archive that it would be "almost impossible" to process the request for the Ten Oldest FOIA Requests if we wanted information from the components. Accordingly, the Archive initially limited the search to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management. There has still been no response from that office. The Archive later determined to submit FOIA requests to the five DOL components that receive the greatest number of FOIA requests. One of these, the Employment Standards Administration, indicated that it has no fax available to the public. Another of the components, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration advised that it would have to refer the request to over 100 individual people in order to locate the Ten Oldest FOIA requests; accordingly, the Archive limited that request to the oldest requests pending in that particular OSHA component and to any FOIA logs maintained by that component of OSHA.
Ten Oldest - Nothing yet received from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management despite over 190 business days since the submission of the request. Nothing received from the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the Employment and Training Administration (ETA), or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), although those requests have been pending for over 65 business days. The Mine Safety and Health Administration reported ten requests pending since August 1, 2002 to June 3, 2003. The Employment Standards Administration (ESA) Office of Workers' Compensation Programs reported ten requests pending since June 15, 2003 to September 8, 2003.
Workload Statistics - DOL's reported statistics from 1998 through 2002 indicate that the agency has received a varying number of number of FOIA requests from a high of 22,469 in 2000 to a low of 17,722 in 2002 (down 2.8% from 18,037 in 1998 to 17,722 in 2002). The number processed each year also has varied from a high of 22,505 in 2000 to a low of 17, 540 in 1998 (up 3.8% from 17,540 processed in 1998 to 18,201 processed in 2002). DOL's processing rate per year -- a comparison of the number of requests processed to the number received -- increased from 97.24% in 1998 to 102.70% in 2002.
Backlog Statistics - DOL's backlog of pending FOIA requests also has varied (from 994 FOIA requests pending at the end of 1998 to 809 FOIA requests pending at the end of 2002). DOL's backlog as a percentage of FOIA requests processed each year has decreased from 5.67% in 1998 to 4.44% in 2002. Its backlog rate per year -- a comparison of the number of requests pending at the end of the year to the number received during that year -- has decreased from 5.51% in 1998 to 4.56% in 2002.
Processing Time - Under its two track system, DOL reports a median processing time in 2002 for simple requests of 1-109 days, while complex requests have ranged from a median of 7-49 days in 2002. Expedited requests have a median processing time range of 3-6 days over the 1998-2001 time period, with a range of 2-28 reported for 2002. The median days that backlogged requests have been pending is reported as 8-36 for 2002.



Department of Labor - Mine Safety and Health Administration

MSHA Response Letter

MSHA August 1, 2002 Letter

MSHA September 18, 2002 Letter

MSHA October 30, 2002 Letter

MSHA December 4, 2002 Letter

MSHA December 17, 2002 Letter

MSHA January 22, 2003 Letter

MSHA February 25, 2003 Letter

MSHA March 13, 2003 Letter

MSHA March 28, 2003 Letter

MSHA June 3, 2003 Letter


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